Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin showed just a few years ago that rookie tryout players can beat the odds and make an NFL roster. With that it mind, head coach Mike Tomlin made sure at this weekend’s rookie camp to deliver a certain message to this year’s crop of young players who are in attendance when it comes to the opportunity that each will receive.
“That it’s fair,” said Tomlin. “We sing it all the time and we believe it. We don’t care about what means you get here, if you’re on the grass and you’re in a helmet, you have an opportunity. Not only do I hope they feel that, but we cite examples of guys that are here. Guys that are part of our team and our program that have come in under similar circumstances.”
Tomlin also made sure to tell this year’s group about the path that Garvin took the Steelers 53 man roster just a few years ago.
“I told the guys that we met Terence Garvin a few years ago at a tryout camp just like this and he stood out and he’s still here” said Tomlin. “That’s the great thing about football, it’s as fair as it gets. We don’t care about what means you get here.”
Tomlin took it a step further by saying that players fall through the cracks every year and that just because a player goes undrafted doesn’t mean that they can’t play at the NFL level.
“I think that’s always the case and guys prove that year in and year out,” said Tomlin. “Not only here, but globally speaking from a football perspective. There’s a lot of guys who can play and sometimes all guys need is an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.”
Tomlin went on to say that there are not a lot of evaluations of players at this point of the rookie camp when it comes to playing football in shorts. However, more than anything else, he said they’re looking for how the young players take instruction and react to it.
“We’re taking an instructional approach to this camp,” said Tomlin. “We’re just giving and receiving the information to see how people learn and just watching how people control their bodies, how they move – laying the foundation for our football, individually and collectively.”
The Steelers rookie minicamp will wrap up Sunday and at that point we’ll see whether any of the 19 tryout players showed enough during the three-day event to warrant them being signed to the offseason roster.