An article published today in my hometown's newspaper, the Austin-American Statesmen, has me extremely impressed and excited about Limas Sweed's prospects as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers both in the short and long run.
With OTAs over and done with, we'll probably hear little about Sweed's developments as a potential contributor on the 2008 squad, but there's still plenty of information coming out about his transition to the other aspects of life as NFL rookie, including his willingness and eagerness to embrace his new hometown:
The kid dubbed 'Real Country' by his teamates began his crash-course immersion in all things Pittsburgh on his initial flight to the 'Burgh, when a local sitting next to him taught him the essentials. Clearly he picked up a thing or two, proving his essential yinzer acumen early in his tenure:
When Sweed was participating in a rookie media orientation earlier this month, he was able to answer "Monongahela, Allegheny and Ohio," when asked the names of the three rivers that flow through the city.
Sweed never struck me as a veritable football junkie while at the University of Texas, but that could just be a product of his rather unassuming personality, at least publically. When the team's rookies took a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which WolfPackSteelersFan wrote about in a recent diary, he was the winner of a trivia contest. He keeps the commemorative mug that he won in his locker.
He's apparently doing a good job watching his back as well, carrying a tape-recorder with him during interview sessions so as not to be mis-quoted, and opting not to wear much expensive jewelry, knowing he's a potential target.
What's all this mean? Nothing much really. Is it preferable that we drafted a seemingly upstanding young-man (who can also play)? Sure, but we did not draft Limas to merely be a pleasant guy and informed citizen. We drafted him to catch footballs, help win football games, and from the sound of it, perhaps even contribute on special teams.
Sweed has worked out with the ST units, utilized as a speed guy off the edge to rush the punter. His long arms and quick first step could lead to some added contributions by our ST units.
But even if he isn't used on ST, and merely makes a few catches here and there during the 2008 season, it's clear that Kevin Colbert and the Rooneys have found themselves a high-character guy with enough upside to be an intriguing 1st or 2nd option as a WR. In addition to the physical attributes, he's got the single most important quality to make it: the willingness and enthusiasm to get better.
"He is not afraid to ask questions," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters earlier this month. "His passion for the game shows through the minute he walks into the building, which allows you to indicate that he has a chance to be what we think he is capable of being."