After recording 13 sacks last season and tying a CFL record by recovering eight fumbles, new Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Shawn Lemon is now looking forward to showing that he can make his mark in the NFL. In a recent interview with Mike Prisuta of steelers.com, Lemon, who played his college football at nearby Akron, revealed his football mindset.
The former undrafted free agent was a Grey Cup champion last season with the Calgary Stampeders and that’s where he had a teammate who made a big impression on him.
“The guy that played on the other side of me (at outside linebacker) last year in Calgary, Charleston Hughes,” said Lemon. “He’s been playing in the CFL for eight years. He taught me a lot.”
So what motivates the 26-year-old Lemon?
“People telling me I can’t do something. My whole life I’ve been told that I can’t do stuff and I continue to prove people wrong,” he told Prisuta.
The Steelers already have four outside linebackers on their 90-man roster that are locks to make the 2015 team in James Harrison, Arthur Moats, Jarvis Jones and rookie first-round draft Bud Dupree. They figure, however, to keep a fifth edge-rusher and if that happens, Lemon will have to beat out Howard Jones and rookie draft pick Anthony Chickillo for that spot on the 53-man roster.
Lemon’s experience and success in the CFL, IFL and AFL should give him a little bit of an edge in that upcoming roster battle. Additionally, the Steelers thought enough of Lemon to give him a $7,500 signing bonus to entice him to sign with them instead of with other NFL teams that had interest in him earlier in the offseason.
Lemon will not only have to show he can get after the quarterback and set the edge against NFL competition, he’ll also likely need to make an impression on special teams as well.
The Steelers first training camp practice in Latrobe will take place two weeks from today and we look forward to seeing if Lemon can indeed put the squeeze on opposing quarterbacks just like he did last year in Calgary once the preseason gets underway.