Our Ron Lippock spoke with Steelers defensive lineman Chris Nelson, an undrafted free agent who signed with the Steelers out of the University of Texas.
First, let me know how you’re getting ready for the start of the season – and has it sunk in yet that you’re an official NFL football player?
Really, right now I’m just focused on staying in shape and keeping my body right. Just working out, honestly.
No, it hasn’t sunk in, honestly. I don’t think it will until I get there. I’m definitely excited to get started.
And you’re teammate P.J. Locke will now be there as well – that make it even better?
Most definitely. He texted me and told me we’d be linking up again. I’m excited to do some great things together again, in Pittsburgh.
There was a pretty famous nosetackle to play in Pittsburgh that came out of Texas in Casey Hampton. Have you spoken with him at all?
Not yet but I hope to when I’m in Pittsburgh. I know he’s a great person and I’m willing to take any advice I can to help.
Why Pittsburgh – why choose them as an undrafted free agent?
Well, when it got down to the end of the draft, Pittsburgh kept calling. They were highly interested in me and that made me feel good about them. You see the program – why not Pittsburgh! They had a lot of faith in me so that made it an easy choice.
What about Texas’ defensive scheme helps you as a defensive lineman in Pittsburgh?
We ran the same thing at Texas, to be honest. We’ve been running the same scheme for three years now. I’m comfortable with the defense and fit right in with the 3-4. It helps because I don’t have to learn it on the fly.
What have you heard about your new coaches yet?
I haven’t heard from them, but I know they are a great group of coaches. I know they can be tough on new guys, and I’m used to tough coaches at Texas.
Any thoughts positionally – you’ve played defensive end and mostly defensive tackle. Any thoughts on where you think you’d fit best? And have you looked at the roster to see where your opportunities to make the team may lie?
Of course I looked at it yeah. There’s a big need for me in that rotation I think. I can get things done – I just need to find an opportunity to play.
Regardless of where I play on the line, I just want to get in there and make plays, Run stopping is where I am great. I can pass rush too.
What area do you need to improve on most?
Pass rush probably. I’ve gotten better – and there’s always something to work on. I’m always working on my craft – on everything really.
As you know, special teams is a big part of making the team as a rookie. What’s your experience at Texas playing on special teams?
I played on field goal units, punts, and punt returns. I’m used to it yeah.
And coming in as an undrafted free agent – what does that do to your mindset coming in to camp?
Oh it gives me a bigger chip on my shoulder for sure. But even if I were drafted it would be the same thing. I’ve never felt comfortable about everything – I work hard to prove myself. I put the work in to show the coaches and vets that I can help the team win. That’s what it’s all about.
Lastly – tell me a bit about you personally for fans – what makes you tick – what interests do you have?
I’m very team oriented. I love hanging out with my teammates and going out to eat – or going out to movies. I’m a chill dude outside of football. My fiance’ cooks for us sometimes – or we all go out together. That’s what I enjoy doing most.