PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers fan alert: Keep your eyes on No. 55 when he's covering kickoff and punt returns.
No, that's not former Steelers underachiever and often-injured Stevenson Sylvester. That's new Steelers special teams demon Kion Wilson, a third-year inside linebacker from South Florida.
"I'm excited to get out there and put on a show, make some plays for the fans and my teammates to help the Steelers win football games,'' Wilson said. "I'm playing on all four phases of the special teams, punt return and coverage and kickoff return and coverage. So, I should get plenty of opportunities.''
The 6-foot, 230-pound Wilson played three games for the San Diego Chargers in 2010 and five for the Carolina Panthers in 2011. He was not on an NFL roster last season, but was signed to a futures contract by the Steelers in January 2013 and has been with them all year.
The Steelers special teams had some issues during the preseason, but Wilson was not among the problems. Those players did not make the team.
"I'm really excited for the upcoming season,'' Wilson said. "I know my role here, so hopefully I can go out there and make things happen. (And) my role is special teams. All day, all game long. I know that. They're something that I take pride in and something that our coaches emphasize.
"So, that part of my game is very important to me at this point, and I'm ready to get going. Coach Tomlin said that whomever was going to be the final pick at linebacker would be the best player on special teams. Fortunately, I was blessed to be able to make some plays that caught the coaches attention.''
Wilson made eight total tackles during the four preseason games, including four solo, one sack and two quarterback pressures to go with two solo stops on special teams. Wilson believed he was blessed to have enough opportunities where he was able to make plays.
"Hard work and preparation also has paid off for me,'' Wilson said. "I believe that I'm a coachable guy. I listen to what the coaches say, and I go out there and perform on the field. I watch film, study my playbook and work hard on and off the field. And I've been blessed that was beneficial to me in the end.''
Wilson primarily has played the Buck inside linebacker spot, behind veteran Larry Foote, but he also has worked at the Mack behind Lawrence Timmons.
"Both of those guys are great leaders, so it's a pleasure to learn from them and play behind them,'' Wilson said. "Larry knows the position inside and out, and you can go to him for help any time that you need it.''
Foote got his NFL start on special teams as well, so if Wilson follows the same path by learning from the Steelers starter he can't go wrong.
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