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10 Questions with Ryan Shazier

Sunday is your first regular season game in the NFL, are you excited?I am very excited. I can't wait to get out there and play.What do you think it's going to be like stepping out onto that field?I can't even explain it. I have been dreaming about this my whole life. To finally get the opportunity, I am going to take full advantage of it.


You talk about dreaming about it, as a kid was this the dream and what's it like to have your dream come true?**It's something I have always thought about. I have been playing football since I was five and I haven't missed a season yet. It really means a lot that my dream is coming true. But there is a lot more I have to do to really fulfill my dream. There are a lot of goals and ambitions I have. I am just going to go out there and keep doing what I know I can do, and that's play football and learn from the older guys.

Starting as a rookie, is there pressure to live up to expectations that come along with being a number one draft pick?I feel like there is pressure from people, but I always put more pressure on myself than anybody can put on me. When people tell me there is pressure, it's not as bad to me as it is to other people because I put so much pressure on myself.** There haven't been many rookies that have started at linebacker on this team, Jack Lambert and Kendrell Bell being among the few. What does that mean to you to be one of a few?It really means a lot. This program is really historic and there is a lot of tradition. Knowing that my name is going to be associated with those two guys, Jack Lambert who is a Hall of Fame player and Kendrell Bell who won the rookie of the year when he played, means a lot.Just hearing that you know facts on those two names means you know about the tradition of linebacker here. What's it like to now be a part of that tradition? I was a Steelers fan before I got drafted here and always knew about the defense and have a lot of respect for the tradition. Being a part of that, it means a whole lot.

The Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for the game against the Cleveland Browns.

Talk about your development from the day you were drafted until today as you prepare for your first regular season game?I have been learning a lot. Every day I learn more and more from pass coverages, technique, fundamentals. I am going to try and use all of the things I've learned in the first game. *Have you already received an education from your teammates on the AFC North and the rivalries that exist, beginning this week with Cleveland?A lot of guys have told me it means a lot. It's one of our biggest rivalries the first game of the year. I am going to try to compare it to Ohio State versus the 'Team up North' (Michigan). That is one of the biggest rivalries in college football. I know college and the NFL are totally different, but from the rivalry standpoint they are both really serious.Brian Hoyer is starting, but do you expect to see some of Johnny Manziel out there?To be honest, whoever is in we will be prepared for them. I won't be surprised if Johnny gets in or if Hoyer stays in the whole game. We are going to go out there and just try to win. It doesn't matter what quarterback we are going against, we are just going to try and do our best to get the victory.* What is the biggest challenge as you get ready for your first game?**Just staying calm and don't get too excited. I feel like I play better when I am focused in and calm. When I am too rowdy I don't feel like I play at the level I should. I just need to stay calm and focused and I'll be able to do what I am capable of doing.

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