- Kicking companions: When
Chris Boswellsigned with the Steelers last October, he had yet to kick in an NFL game. But he had a huge advantage in a mentor who was there for him every day, veteran kicker Shaun Suisham. Suisham, who was on injured reserve because of a knee injury suffered in the preseason opener, gave Boswell all of the support he needed.
“I talked to Shaun every day,” said Boswell. “He helped me all year long. Nothing went through my head other than making the next kick. It’s awesome just to have another kicker in general. But to have one of the most accurate guys to lean on, and for him to help me and touch here and there on things, was so valuable. It’s reassuring if both of us see the same thing. It’s easy to build on from there.”
And all the while Suisham helped him, he knew there was a chance that Boswell was fighting for a job in the future, possibly even his job. It never stopped him from helping.
“That is the type of guy he is,” said Boswell. “He is down to earth, humble. Everyone who saw me kick all season forgets how accurate he is. He is still one of the best kickers in the league as far as accuracy.
“I can’t even put it into words how he helped. He really took me under his wing and tried to prep me as the season went on.”
- Lesson learned: It’s a lesson young players learn in their first season. And it’s never an easy one. The season can be long, very long and tiring. Learning how to deal with it is something many players struggle with. Boswell was no different.
“You see how long the season is,” said Boswell. “Without going through it, you don’t know what it is like. The mental and physical wear and tear you have, even for kicker. You kick a lot. It’s a lot of wear and tear. I have to be smarter about how to kick and when to kick.”
- It’s your turn: All season long Steelers’ players were asked to embrace Coach Mike Tomlin’s mantra of next man up, as injuries mounted. And one position nobody expected to require that mindset be called up so strong was at kicker. Boswell was the Steelers fourth kicker this season, following Suisham and Garrett Hartley who were both injured, and then Josh Scobee who was released because of his ineffectiveness.
“I feel like I was the next man up being the fourth kicker in just a few months,” said Boswell. “Not many teams go through that, or have ever gone through that. We had a lot of positions going through that. Everyone feels like they are good enough to start. It’s just about getting their opportunity and taking advantage of it.
“I knew I was next man up and I tried to do my best for the team so there wasn’t such a hit losing Shaun since he is such an accurate kicker. He is a guy I watched for years. I didn’t want the team to miss any steps coming in, so I just tried to do my best.”