Medford, Wis., product Ethan Hemer put his Steelers helmet on for the first time Friday morning, and is engaged in the most arduous job audition he's likely to ever face.
One of 11 undrafted free agents participating in the Steelers' rookie minicamp, which began Friday morning in Pittsburgh, he has been tasked, along with finding a way to stand out among arguably the deepest and most talented crop of Steelers defensive ends in a long time, with keeping a running journal of his experiences, sponsored by WSAW-TV NewsChannel 7 Sports in Northcentral Wisconsin.
Thus far I have been in Pittsburgh since Monday, and I am pleasantly surprised with the city and what it has to offer. My immediate thought was that of many steel mills on a river, but the city is actually clean, green, and there is a lot of really cool buildings and structures.
Cue the Wisconsin farm jokes if you must at this point.
Hemer has the same story of many successful players who have come out of Wisconsin; he was a walk-on who grew and improved to the point he was given a scholarship and eventually, excelled in a starting role. He was Third Team All Big 10 his senior year.
In his journal, he notes he's been given the No. 79, and that he's looking to reach out to a few coaches who left Wisconsin to join former Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who's now the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh.
Hemer also says about 30 other non-drafted players are there, and all of them underwent medical evaluations to ensure there aren't any other lingering issues.
The Steelers rookie minicamp and orientation runs through Saturday.