Steelers News

Ryan Switzer On His Football Mentality: ‘I Play Like I Don’t Belong’

It doesn’t matter how relatively insignificant nor how great you are. It seems that ‘playing with a chip on your shoulder’ always seems to help, in some way. Michael Jordan probably convinced himself that everybody thinks he’s overrated just to get worked up enough to get himself where he felt he needed to be mentally to perform in the way that he did.

It has more than reached the point in which it verges on cliché to talk about playing with a chip on your shoulder. But some people have a better argument to make than others. One such player might well be Ryan Switzer, who as a second-year former fourth-round pick experienced an offseason in which he was traded not once, but twice, nearly reaching the point where he was considering if it was worth continuing to pursue an NFL career.

Of course, the second trade landed him with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he instantly became the starting returner on both kickoffs and punts, and he slowly but surely carved out a bigger role for himself on offense as well, going so far as to become the primary slot receiver toward the middle-late portion of the season. He would finish third among wide receivers in receptions and receiving yards.

The short-statured wide receiver didn’t take long to be embraced by both the team and the fans, and he hasn’t been shy about trying to plant his roots in Pittsburgh, becoming a public voice for the team early in the offseason during the height of the drama and doing a lot of charity work as well at the local hospital.

None of that prevents him from finding himself in a potential battle during training camp for a roster spot, however, due to the number of wide receivers that they have on the team at the moment who could viably push for a position on the team. Some think that he and Eli Rogers may be competing for one spot.

It’s talk like that that helps to explain Switzer’s mentality on the field, whether in a stadium or in practice. “I have always had a chip on my shoulder”, he told the team’s website in answering a question about his football mindset. “I play that way. I play like I don’t belong. I play like I have something to prove. I have played like that since my middle school days”.

He has relayed more than once the fact that he was told on a number of occasions that he would ultimately have to move to running back because of his height as he was maturing as a player. There is a long history of him being doubted, but he has already accomplished more, likely, than his detractors expected. What will he achieve in his potential first full season with the Steelers?

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