Entering his third year in the NFL, former undrafted free agent Robert Golden has been perhaps best known for his contributions on special teams for the Steelers. Although Golden has had a limited role, he has excelled in it, placing second in Pro Football Focus' ranking of the best special teams players in the NFL.
However Golden has ambitions beyond being a special teams demon, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
"If it’s special teams, it’s special teams. But I definitely want to be a safety. I feel like I came in the league to be a safety. Coaches liked it when I played safety last year."
Golden featured in some sub-packages early in 2013, but after the return of veteran safety Will Allen his playing time on defense virtually disappeared. Of his 51 defensive snaps last season, only 1 came after week 4.
With prospective starting free safety Mike Mitchell out with a groin injury, Golden got his opportunity to take some reps with the first team on Wednesday in training camp and impress the coaching staff.
"Any time you are able to get some reps out there, you want to take advantage of them," Golden said. "I always want to take advantage of every opportunity.
If Golden can progress at the safety position, the Steelers will consider themselves well stocked at the back end of the defense with veterans Troy Polamalu, Will Allen, Mike Mitchell along with second year safety Shamarko Thomas (who also ran with first team on Wednesday) on the roster.
For now, Golden is just focusing on improving little aspects of his game that , when combined, make a great player. This was a task made easier by Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who gave Golden some specific areas to work on over the offseason, such as his angles to the ball and finishing plays off better.
"I feel like I worked on them and now I want to prove what I can do," Golden said.