If Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Gerod Holliman can come even remotely close to playing like the player that he considers to be his inspiration, the orginization will no doubt have found a true late-round gem.
Holliman, who was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh-round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Louisville, named former Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed as his football mentor/inspiration in a recent interview with Teresa Varley of steelers.com.
Holliman showed last season that he indeed has a knack for being in the right place at the right time as his 14 interceptions led the FBS in 2014 and tied the single-season record that had stood since 1968. As you would expect, setting that record is one of Holliman’s proudest football memories up until now.
Holliman told Varley that of all of his new Steelers teammates, fellow safety Shamarko Thomas has made the biggest impression on him since he was drafted.
“He is a veteran here,” Holliman said of Thomas, who is looking to finally become a starter in 2015 now that veteran safety Troy Polamalu has retired. “We play the same position and I am looking up to him. His first day here he came to me and talked to me and gave me insight on stuff. I feel comfortable talking to him.”
Hopefully Holliman can learn the finer points of hitting and tackling from Thomas between now and the end of the training camp as those are areas of his game that need drastic improvement if he’s to make the final 53 man roster this summer. Holliman, however, is well-aware of the physical brand of football that has become synonymous with the Steelers over the decades and what is expected now that he’s in Pittsburgh.
“I think of a hard-nosed defense, a physical team and that is something I want to be a part of,” said Holliman.
Reed tallied 64 interceptions during his 12 seasons in the league and five of those came during his rookie season. He will likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer after making the Pro Bowl nine times and being voted First-Team All-Pro five times.
Like Reed, Holliman hopes to be around the league for a long time making plays.
“Five to 10 years down the road I hope to establish a name for myself here and be mentioned with the greats,” he told Varley.