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Ryan McBean Might Surprise Some People

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Despite living in Big 12 Country, I knew very little about the Steelers 4th-Round draft choice Ryan McBean. I don't watch much college football, and when I do, Oklahoma State (McBean's alma mater) is somewhere near the bottom of my list of teams I'll spend time watching.

There is a nice piece on the Steelers' site about McBean that chronicles his unique path to the NFL.

Born in Jamaica, McBean had little exposure to football or organized sports of anykind as a kid. When his parents separated, McBean moved to Brooklyn with his mother. Ryan found himself getting into trouble roaming the streets of NYC though, a trend that prompted his grandmother to suggest he move to Texas.

"I wasn't running with the right crowd, and my brother wasn't running with the right crowd at the time."

It was at Trinity High School in Euless Texas--in the Dallas-Forth Worth area--that McBean was introduced to football and set on the right track. McBean said it was the perfect fit for him at the time:

"I had some real good coaches and real good teachers that cared about me. People in Euless--in the Fort Worth area--they really care about the players, and they looked after me as soon as I came into the district--the coaches and the teachers and everything else. I had a chance to cope with my surroundings. At Trinity they helped out a whole lot. They fit me into the system a whole lot."

Even though he had a solid career at Oklahoma State, McBean still feels he's got plenty of room to grow as a player, and from the sound of it, he seems to be extremely coachable and hungry:

"I'm still learning. Put me with a coach; I'm just like a kid," said McBean. "I'm still learning, and I want to learn. I want to keep learning. I'm good right now, but I know that I could be better. I could be great at anything that I could do. That's my position; I'm very young at the game. I'm with Coach Mitchell now, and he's going to teach me everything that he can."
I doubt McBean will make an immediate impact in 2007, but if nothing else, I'm confident his hard work on the practice field will give Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel a much needed kick in the pants.

In Kevin Colbert and Mr. Rooney We Trust.