Chickillo understands the 'Steelers way'

If you walk around the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, you are quickly reminded of the team's deep history. Adorned on the walls at every turn are photos of Hall of Famers, legends and the best to play at each position throughout the years.

Anthony Chickillo loves that history. He loves the legacy. And he loves being a part of the legacy, especially at the linebacker position.

"It's awesome. The standard here is amazing," said Chickillo. "Some of the best linebackers to ever play the game, played here. That is the standard, greatness. Who doesn't want to chase that? Who doesn't want to be a part of it?

"It's the Steelers way. The linebacker tradition here is different. It's different than other places. It's a legacy you have to carry. I feel like we have the right group of guys to do it."

Chickillo's admiration for those who played before him is apparent in his jersey collection. He has signed jerseys from some of the all-time Steelers greats, including Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis, as well as those who set the standard for linebacker play in Jack Lambert and Jack Ham.  

"I have a great appreciation for the players who played the game in the past, and played it the right way and as hard as they could, won championships and did great things. I admire that.

"It's awesome when you see the former players come back here. You hear about them and hear stories about them from people who have been here for a long time. To see them, interact with them, it's great to pick their brain, and get to hear about some of their experiences."

Chickillo has no problem putting into action any words of wisdom that those legendary players have uttered to him, as it can only work to his advantage. He has seen the growth in himself and has come a long way since the start of his rookie season, when the former sixth-round pick was released by the team before the season began, signed to the practice squad, and then placed on the active roster a few weeks later. He has developed and grown every season since, and is comfortable with where he is now.

"I am real comfortable with the defense," said Chickillo. "I am comfortable with anything the coaches ask me to do. I have seen others do it, and I have done it myself. I just want to keep doing more. I love it. That is the competitor in all of us. When the coaches ask me to do something, the type of person I am, that is what I am going to do.

"I just want to continue to work on my craft and things that come with being a great outside linebacker. As a team we have a lot of good people, a lot of pieces coming back next year. We need to continue to be a close group. We just have to focus on what we have to do. We have to win every single day when we are in the building."

There isn't much of a choice, especially when there are so many legends around to remind them.

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