Tuitt: 'They challenge you'

Posted Mar 1, 2017

Stephon Tuitt, Cameron Heyward & Landry Jones give their take on the Combine.

The NFL Scouting Combine is the ultimate job interview for more than 300 of the top college players. It’s an opportunity to prove yourself in front of every NFL head coach, assistant coach, general manager, scout and just about everyone else involved in NFL football operations who descend upon Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Several Steelers shared what their past Combine experience was like, what the experience was, and what they liked, or didn’t like, about it.

  • Stephon Tuitt didn’t hold back when talking about his Combine. Plain and simple, he wasn’t a fan.

    “I hated it,” said Tuitt. “Early mornings, everything you have to do. I wasn’t able to perform. I got a sour taste.

    “I had some crazy numbers and was ready to show. Unfortunately I had a stress fracture in my foot and didn’t know about. I thought I was fine and really wasn’t. I got a chance to talk to some of the guys who understood my case, helped me, and guided me. They told me to kill the meetings with the coaches. I gave everything I had. I am blessed to be a part of the Steelers.”

    While Tuitt was disappointed with the fact that he couldn’t perform at the Combine, he knows how important it is, how much it matters to the college players who are taking part.

    “It was a great experience,” said Tuitt. “It’s a chance for guys to change their lives. It’s awesome. It’s a heartwarming feeling for them. To be a part of it is a blessing. They should go out there and do the best they can.

    “I remember Coach (John) Mitchell looking at me up and down, giving me the eye test and giving me some hard, serious questions. That stuff is not easy. They challenge you. You stay true to yourself, know why you are there. You have an opportunity, so don’t change. Just be yourself and continue to grow and the coaches will respect that.” 

  • Defensive end Cameron Heyward wasn’t able to compete at the Combine because of an elbow injury he suffered in the Sugar Bowl, so for him the interviews were a key factor.
    “The crazy thing for me is I was hurt at the time so I had to use my brain, the way I talked, to get my point across,” said Heyward. “I had to show I was a student of the game. What I couldn’t show on the field I had to make up in the conferences, meetings. Every team is there, scouts, everyone is there. It’s one of the craziest job interviews. You will never forget it
    “You almost treat it like a competition. They are testing your knowledge to see if you are a sincere person and how much you care about this game. They can tell from the get go if you are serious about this and you want to excel at the next level. They don’t know you, why you love this game, what you want to do when you get in the league. They ask all these different questions to get to know you.

    “With the Steelers we got to write essays to see what we are all about. It’s really cool. It’s more than just the interview. It’s a great process. It’s an essay about myself, what I thought were important character traits, things that make me the person I am. To be able to do it that way you get to know the person better.”

  • Quarterback Landry Jones is another player who remembers what his meeting with the Steelers was like and how teams approached the one-on-one interviews in starkly different fashion.

    “It just depends on the team whether they are super intense or laid back. It just depends on each room,” said Jones. “When I met with the Steelers it was great. They just wanted to get to know me, get to know my personality. Coach (Mike) Tomlin made it more like a conversation, asking questions about myself. It wasn’t too intimidating. It wasn’t bad, it was pretty good.”