Marcus Allen never seems to be without a smile, and there is good reason for that. He is doing what he loves.
Allen, one of the Steelers fifth-round draft picks, just wrapped up taking part in the team's rookie minicamp.
"It felt great just walking into the facility knowing I am part of the organization," said Allen. "I am so happy and blessed to be in this position. I just have to make every moment count.
"It's a blessing. I have been dreaming about this all of my life. To be here living my dream, it's unbelievable.
"Right now I am just working to get better. I am working on special teams, working my butt off in individual drills and showing off my work ethic. I want to get on the field as fast as possible and work my butt off."
Allen went into the draft with high hopes. Many had him projected as a day-two pick, as high as the second round, or even the third round. But when he hung around until the fifth round, it wasn't easy, but it's something that will motivate him.
"I always have a chip on my shoulder," said Allen. "I have this big bolder on my back, on my shoulder, since I was in little league. There is never a day I don't have a chip on my shoulder."
That chip didn't prevent Allen from being enthusiastic about how things played out during the three-day minicamp, especially working with new defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, for several reasons. Like Allen, Bradley played at Penn State, but he also coached there from 1979-2011, with numerous roles including interim head coach. The other aspect that makes it work, is Bradley is learning the defense right along with his players.
"It feels great," said Allen. "He is a Penn State guy. The way he teaches and explains things is incredible. I'm blessed to have him as a coach. He is new to it, so he is going to explain it the best way possible because of how he is learning it."
Allen has already developed a comfort level with his new teammates. He had a relationship with several of them from the Combine, all-star games, but it didn't take long for the personable rookie to get to know others.
"I feel comfortable out here," said Allen. "I have a great relationship with a couple of the guys. I am building relationships. It feels like home already. Terrell and I, we already had a relationship. We bonded. We are roommates right now."
The rookies have one more week before OTAs begin, their first opportunity to work with the veterans in a practice situation. It's something he can't wait for.
"It's going to be very valuable to have that time to study the plays, get the right calls and assignments for what I have to do before then," said Allen. "That is the time I will need to really get into it. I will be picking Joe Haden's brain, Sean (Davis), Malik Golden all the veterans. They are from my area back home in Maryland."
And if he needs advice from someone else, someone who can tell him how to handle life in the NFL, he has a pretty good role model. Allen's godfather is Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin.
"We went out to eat and we spoke about everything. It was a great conversation," said Allen. "I mean, you've got a Hall of Famer as your godfather. It is great to have him in my corner."