Pittsburgh Steelers punter Pressley Harvin III talked to the media today before practice (via a tweet from Steelers Live) about the work he’s put in this offseason and beating out Cameron Nizialek in the punting competition.
“Just trying to put in all the hard work in the offseason, put myself in a position to let muscle memory take over when I need it to, and the hard work’s starting to show off. So just gotta continue to get better, continue to keep progressing on down the train and we’ll be here, we’ll be good,” Harvin said.
As far as the competition with Nizialek, Harvin said he saw it more as a competition with himself.
“Cam’s a good guy, he’s a good punter too. And the biggest thing I told myself was it didn’t matter if I’m going against somebody else. The competition is me at the end of the day, cause I’m the only one who can control what I can do. So everyday I come out here, I just tell myself it’s one versus one. It’s just me versus me the whole time.”
Harvin didn’t have the best rookie season, but he was dealing with a lot off the field, and the adjustment to the NFL as a rookie can be tough regardless of what’s going on away from the stadium. Pittsburgh is clearly confident in Harvin given that Nizialek was involved in the first round of cuts, and the team didn’t make any effort to bring in another punter via free agency or the draft this offseason.
I don’t know if Harvin will ever reach the top tier of punters in the NFL, but he has a lot of potential and should improve over last year. It seems as if he’s put in the work, and I’m betting on a better year two from him.
It is a pretty important year for Harvin. If he struggles the way he did last year, it could very well be his last year in Pittsburgh, and maybe even the league. Punters who can’t stick with one team for more than two years often don’t last very long in the NFL, and if he struggles again, I don’t know if another team is taking a chance on him. If Harvin punts well though, he’ll assuredly be back in Pittsburgh for a third season.
Whatever happens, I’m rooting for Harvin. He’s been through a lot, he seems like he really cares and wants to improve and he’s put in the work to do so. I hope he has a better year this year, and I think he will. I wouldn’t be surprised if Harvin is looked at as a top-20 or even top-15 punter by the end of the year. He’ll get his first punting action of the preseason on Saturday night against Jacksonville, and I’m excited to see what he can do.