The Steelers' defensive players in the 2000s had a reputation of being a teaching team.
The veterans helped teach the young players, because that's what the veterans did when they were young.
Chris Hoke took Steve McLendon under his wing. Aaron Smith taught Ziggy Hood everything he could.
That sense of teamwork isn't restricted to just the defensive side of the ball. BTSC writer Christopher Carter noted after practice in Latrobe Wednesday Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was seen running 40-yard sprints alongside undrafted rookie free agent J.D. Woods - in Carter's words, "...helping him fire out of his stance."
Woods, a longshot to make this roster out of West Virginia, had two catches in the Steelers' 18-13 loss to the Giants in the preseason opener, clearly sees the value of learning from one of the more explosive receivers in the NFL, particularly in and out of his breaks.
The fact it happened after practice has to count for something. And not even so much for Woods - a rookie who is likely working to earn a practice squad spot in the best realistic scenario. Brown, the Steelers big-money receiver, taking the time not just to help Woods, but to run with him after practice.
That's different than just entertaining the rookie by answering questions as they walk back to the locker room.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was quick to point to Brown's intangible qualities when speaking to the reasons why the Steelers signed him to a long-term extension last season. He noted his work ethic above all else. Working hard on one's game is one thing, and a requisite to sustained success in the NFL. Teaching what you've learned to others who are trying to maximize the chance they have - however long of a chance it is - is another. And it's indicative of leadership status within an organization.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers training camp recap: Wednesday
- Hype has passed Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley by as he climbs franchise's career sacks ladder
- Curtis Brown returns to practice field Wednesday
- Steelers depth chart: Brian Moorman and Drew Butler punter battle intensifies
- Steelers training camp update: Shaun Suisham hits 60-yard field goal in practice
- Steelers vs Redskins: Reggie Dunn replaces David Gilreath as punt returner
- Steelers vs Redskins: Hebron Fangupo remains ahead of Alameda Ta'amu
- Steelers vs Redskins: Shamarko Thomas catches Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith
- Steelers vs Redskins: Isaiah Green passes Josh Victorian on CB depth chart
- Steelers vs Redskins: Joe Long and D'Anthony Batiste are co-backups on LT depth chart
- Steelers vs Redskins: rookie Justin Brown passes David Gilreath on WR depth chart