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Exclusive with Steelers Defensive End Isaiah Buggs

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Our Ron Lippock spoke with defensive end Isaiah Buggs, the Steelers’ 6th round (192 overall) 2019 draft pick out of Alabama about his contact with the Steelers pre-draft, his connection with former Alabama defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, now his defensive line coach on the Steelers, and more.

First, has it sunk in yet, bring drafted by Pittsburgh?

Oh yeah. I’m excited now – this is the dream for everyone wanting to play in the NFL. I’m ready for it.

Were you surprised Pittsburgh drafted you – did they show a lot of interest in you beforehand?

I didn’t now. You sit and wait is the thing – you wait for your name to be called. Nobody knows when they’ll get picked. It’s all about what you do when you get there and the opportunity to get a spot on the roster.

Did you have any conversations with the team prior to the draft?

I met with them several times – at the combine, pro day, and Senior Bowl. We had some great conversations – I appreciate the chance they are giving me.

And you just signed your contract – how does that feel?

When I met with all of the teams, they asked me how I planned to handle all of that money. What I planned to spend it on. They want to be sure they are able to trust you – they are counting on you and giving you a lot of money. That’s the main question for them. They want to make a connection with you,

Have you looked at the roster yet to see what your best opportunities are to make the roster?

Not yet – I haven’t looked at it yet. It really doesn’t matter to me anyway, It’s just a rep chart. I’m ready to go in and compete no matter what.

How does it feel to play again for Coach Dunbar – what has he meant to you?

Coach Dunbar is a great coach. He knows the ins and outs and the techniques to succeed. He got me started on this train – he coached me my first year in Alabama. He knows the game – the mental aspect – how the game is played.

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He developed me on and off the field. He made sure you were a good man as well as a good player. That’s what makes him a great coach.

Any mentors while at Alabama – anyone help shape your game?

At Alabama there was no one I modeled my game after or who pushed us. Nobody made us play – we all wanted to win. So no sir – no mentors.

What do think you need to work on most – and what have they said to you about your role there?

Overall – I just need to work on everything and try to be better at every aspect of my game.

I can play all across the line – nose tackle, defensive tackle – they want me to be versatile and that’s a strength of mine. I’m unique in that way – I can play anywhere on the line.

Special teams will be a big part of making the team as well. What’s your mindset on playing on special teams?

I haven’t played on special teams. As a starter you don’t have to play on special teams – they don’t want you to. But I’m excited to do it. I’m just excited to play anywhere in general.

Lastly – anything about you off the field fans should know about?

I think I’m just a good person – I’ve never been in trouble with the police or anything like that. Outside of football, I just like relaxing and listening to music.

Really now, I’m just ready to get to work. It’s all about football now.

Ron Lippock is the author of Steelers Takeaways and has interviewed over 650 past and present Steelers players, coaches and personnel. You can purchase his book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Steelers-Takeaways-Memories-Through-Decades/dp/1681570076

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