Does it feel like an open competition at running back?
It does. [Coach] Kirby [Wilson] let us know that the starting job is open, the third-down back is open, pretty much every position is open in the running back room. I’m all ready for the competition. I worked hard all summer. Hopefully, it will pay off.
Which of those spots do you have your eye on?
You always want to come in and be the starting running back. That’s my goal and that’s what I worked hard for all summer long.
What can we tell with pads on?
We’re going to separate the men from the boys. All the shorts and all that is done and over with. Once you put the pads on, you see where the guys really have.
What will be the key to picking the starter at running back?
I’m not sure. That’s the coaches’ decision. All I can do is do my part, and I’ll come out and practice hard and give it all I have.
Does the Steelers defense hit its rookies a little harder at practice? Do you remember when you were a rookie and put the pads on for the first time?
Yeah, I remember. They’re going to bring it regardless if you’re a rookie or not. That’s just how our defense is. That’s how they go about their job. They’re always going to bring their A-game.
I feel like I’m a little quicker because of the weight that I have lost. It’s basically 10 pounds that I don’t have to carry around with me.
What are you going to carry into camp this year from your experience fighting for a starting spot at camp last year?
I know last year I worked hard in the summer, but I feel like I could have done more. I could have started earlier. This year I started a lot earlier and I got my weight down a lot earlier, so I wasn’t battling my weight when I got to training camp.
What goes through your mind when the Steelers draft a running back high in the draft?
I’ve been around this league for a while now, so I wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t a shock to me. I know how things go. All it was for me was motivation to work harder. That’s what it did for me all summer. That was my motivation.
What makes the difference between an 8-8 season and making the playoffs?
First and foremost, it has to be our attitude. I feel like all the guys came in with a great attitude and knowing that 8-8 is not the standard around here in the least. The attitude each guy came in with and that sour taste in your mouth, everybody came in with that chip on their shoulder. It starts there, to have that attitude and that want to be better.