Ziggy Hood not calling it a comeback

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

He hasn't said "comeback," but Hood's performance Friday could be indicative of a breakout year for the former first round pick.

He hasn't used the word "comeback," but Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood without a doubt understands the importance of his 2013 season.

Four years in the league, he's one of the last players who will have signed a five-year deal upon being a first round pick. It gave him a nice chunk of change up front, but for the most part, NFL players who rake in the cash get it from their second contract.

Hood is playing for that contract, and he's been impressive in camp to this point, according to some.

Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola is one of those in Hood's camp, noting a few big wins Friday.

As is the tough part about training camp, discerning whether that's a sign of high level ability of Hood or a mark against right guard David DeCastro is up in the air, but there's more concern surrounding Hood than DeCastro - a second-year player who lost most of his rookie year to a knee injury.

Hood's strength has always been a, well, strength of his. Technique has been the issue. As BTSC's Steel34D noted recently, Hood played much better at the end of last season than he has at any point in his career, and could be on the verge of a breakout year.

Perhaps these are the first signs of that.

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