You kind of think you know how you’ll feel when you sign with an NFL team, but you don’t know. To reach this point – it’s surreal. I mean, I know I haven’t made it yet – I haven’t made the team yet or anything. But just to get to this point…
What are you doing now to prepare for camp?
I’m not doing anything different than I had been doing. I’m training back home in Phoenix – 20 minutes from my place. I left for my pro day then came right back into it.
Why did you choose to sign with Pittsburgh?
Well, what do you hear about the Steelers, right? The fanbase, the legacy and history behind the team. It’s such a successful place. I have a buddy on the team too who has said nothing but great things – Trey Griffey. I played with him at Arizona before he graduated and I transferred.
What do you think you bring to the team – what are your strengths?
I think really, my strength is that I’m a good inline blocker. I fit in a hard-nosed offense like what they run. The hardest thing for me was that in college I was behind a consensus All-American. I knew my role. I did the dirty work and he was an elusive, great athlete . I took on my role for the team.
I talked to my agent when I was looking at teams. He said that this was a good opportunity for me – no better place for a guy like me than Pittsburgh. I fit Pittsburgh’s style. But one thing – I can also stretch the field – something I didn’t get a chance to do much in college. But I’m excited to showcase that for Pittsburgh. I have a big body and can run well. I’m excited to show what I can do.
Did you know Pittsburgh had interest in you before they called?
It’s crazy. I had no idea – no contact with them beforehand. I was in shock. But when they called I couldn’t pass up on it.
What do you need to improve on, do you think?
I think I can improve the way I run the top of my routes. And my footwork is something I can always improve on in my run blocking. Just being more precise in my footwork and solidifying my techniques.
You’re a long snapper as well – how does that help you make the team?
That’s just another tool – another opportunity for me to make the 53 and help out. You do anything you can to help the team win. I have a long body – my coaches liked that and that I can run down the field and make tackles too. I’m an athlete who can also snap. I did that a lot in Arizona and showed that off when they asked me to at my pro day as well.
I also read your college coaches had you play defensive line a bit and felt you had a future there – and you had some success there too. Any interest in that if needed/asked in Pittsburgh?
Well, I’ll help them win any way possible. I know I’m a tight end – that’s what I love to do and play. But if I’m needed on defense and can help them win there, I’m all for it. I’m all about winning. We all want to do what makes us happiest, but I want to win too.
What should fans know about you of the field?
I’m a highly motivated, hard-working tough dude. I’m ready to work. I’m not a guy to overstep my boundaries and make it about me and expect to start. I’ll work at my role and play hard and compete.
Whatever happens, happens. I’m just so excited to play for Mike Tomlin. I’ve heard nothing but great things,
I’m also involved in the community – I like working with kids. That’s on my track record since college. I like to help kids that don’t have the opportunity – I was in that position too. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. I’m all about positivity – I’m not about breaking guys down.
What does success look like to you?
Oh – a Super Bowl is success! That’s what we’re here for, right?