When it comes to the NFL, there are players who assume they belong, and those who are thankful they even have the opportunity. With the latter, there are no assumptions made, and the hard work which is necessary to succeed is typically evident. What it boils down to is whether or not that hard work is accompanied by an amount of talent which can equate to long-term success in the league.
When it comes to new Pittsburgh Steelers guard Nate Herbig, he would be categorized as a player who has had to earn all of what he’s gotten in the NFL, and that isn’t a lot.
Herbig was undrafted out of Stanford, leaving as a Junior, eventually signing as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles. What that has taught him was to appreciate everything this game provides.
“Man, I love football.” said Herbig when meeting with Pittsburgh media. “I love to play the game of football. I feel like football is played a certain way, and I’m going to play it that way. I’m happy to be here. Old school, smash mouth, I like that stuff. As you can see, I’m built for it. So, I’m happy to be here.
When Steelers fans see Herbig has spent time in Philadelphia, they should also know there is a natural connection to Andy Weidl. Weidl, the current Assistant General Manager (GM) had a direct result in Herbig coming to Philadelphia, and also to the Steelers. And Herbig knows it.
“Andy Weidl is the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time], man.” Herbig exclaimed. “He’s the man. He was in Philly when I was in Philly, and we have that connection coming in a little bit. I’m just happy to be here, happy to be in the same building as him.”
When asked what he liked the most about coming to a team/organization like the Steelers, Herbig didn’t mince words.
“It’s the Steelers. Like, come on, what isn’t there about it?” Herbig said. “I don’t have enough good things to say. Guys on the team have already reached out to me. Kenny [Pickett] reached out to me. That just shows his leadership already. I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to be a part of this team.”
Speaking of the quarterback Herbig will be helping protect, he couldn’t say enough good things about Pickett reaching out and welcoming him to the team.
“I mean, it was unbelievable.” Herbig said of his talking with Pickett the day he signed. “I had a great leader when I was in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts, and the fact that he just reached out to me just made me have so much respect for him, but even more with how much of a leader he is, and I’m just excited to be around him and be on his team.”
When Philadelphia didn’t bring Herbig back heading into the 2022 season, Herbig was picked up by the New York Jets. While the season wasn’t a success, Herbig was able to learn from his time with the Jets.
“Just always being ready to play. It was like that for me in Philly. I played a bunch of different positions, and I got an opportunity, and I love opportunity. I made my career on it, so I’m going to keep trying to do the same.”
Coming from Stanford, most Steelers fans will think of another guard who was a first round pick for the black-and-gold. That would be none other than David DeCastro. When asked, Herbig knew all about DeCastro from his time in college, and his career with the Steelers.
“When I went to Stanford, David DeCastro was a Steeler.” Herbig recalled. “Great, a legend, and I just would watch his games on Sunday in the weight room. Just watching him out there dominating, that’s how I want to play football. I respect it. I want to be like him.”
Herbig might not be a starting lineman when the dust settles on training camp, but what he provides in terms of position versatility and experience shouldn’t be underscored. Ultimately, there are some players who you want on your team, and Herbig would certainly fall into that category. Consider him a “glue guy”, and a very big “glue guy” at that.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.