The draft is over. No more fanfare and all the pomp and circumstance which surrounds the event.
Now it is just about one thing — football.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers their rookie minicamp started Friday, and to suggest those who were participating in the event were excited to get on the gridiron might be one of the biggest understatements of the offseason.
“I am excited. I am stoked to get out there and show what I have. I am very excited about it.” Rookie tight end Zach Gentry told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.
“I can’t wait to show the coaches what I can do, just compete and get better,” said Justin Layne, the third-round pick from Michigan State. “It’s kind of crazy. It’s like the first day of high school or college. It’s that nervous feeling. I still think it hasn’t hit me yet. I think it will hit me tomorrow when we get on the field. It’s football. I am ready to get to work.”
“I am ready to get on the field and start playing some ball,” said Sutton Smith, a linebacker from Northern Illinois who was taken in the sixth round. “Getting fit for my helmet and having the Steelers logo on the side of my noggin, it’s fun. I can’t wait to go out there and have some fun with it.”
“It’s kind of surreal now that I am here,” said third-round pick Diontae Johnson from Toledo. “I am signed. I don’t have to worry about anything but football. I have been working out. I am excited to show the coaches what I can do.
“I am going to go out there and be myself, show the coaches what I can do. Once we are done with rookie minicamp I can get out there on the field with the veterans as well. That is what I am looking forward to.”
The Steelers will welcome the veterans soon enough, but this experience gives the rookies just that, experience, without having those veterans there to put added pressure on them.
Throughout minicamp, many fans have asked what coaches look for, and one of the team’s staff told Missi Matthews just that:
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes not only from rookie minicamp, but also the rest of offseason workouts as the Steelers start to fine tune the machine heading into the 2019 season.