3 keys for a young linebacker

Helping hand: Coming to the Steelers last year part way through training camp meant one thing for linebacker L.J. Fort, needing to play catch-up. Fort said it was easy to do because of the help from inside linebacker coach Jerry Olsavsky, as well as all of the players at his position.

"All the linebackers helped me out," said Fort. "It was like a family. We were always doing stuff together. My first week there people were having me hang out and stuff. That was cool. Then on the field everyone is coaching each other at practice, which you don't get at a lot of places. A lot of places people are trying to not really help you a lot because you can take their job. But here, everybody's on board and if you make a mistake they are going to help you out."

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Phase Two of the Steelers offseason workout program is underway.

Stability matters:** After bouncing around from team to team since he first came into the league in 2012, Fort is taking full advantage of being a part of a complete offseason program with the Steelers this year.

"That's where you become comfortable and you don't have to think as much," said Fort. "When you're in OTAs, you learn the playbook more and you experience plays. You understand more this is why I'm doing this and why I made that mistake. You're just a lot more comfortable when you get in a game. You don't even have to think, you can play fast without thinking and that's what it's all about and that is when it starts.

"Playing fast and not having to think of anything, that's why I'm looking forward to OTAs and being comfortable with the game and understanding what coaches want, when they want it and being able to play fast."

  • Learning curve: Fort said he has a good grasp of the defense, but working this offseason can do nothing but help him as 2016 approaches.

"The meetings all year long, you learn a lot but I definitely have a long way to go," said Fort. "Getting the on field experience is different. To see the plays on the chalk board and watch the film and stuff is helpful. But to actually be out there experiencing the plays, to see it unfold while you are on the field, is totally different and that's an experience I'm looking forward to getting in OTAs and training camp."

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