Focused on football

A few hours after he signed his rookie contract, Cameron Sutton stood in the locker room at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and fielded questions on the first day of the team's three-day minicamp.

And his focus was far from the contract, but instead on the task at hand.  

"I come with the same mentality and approach every day," said Sutton. "That is something outside of football. I control what happens inside the white lines.

"You still have to go out there and play the game. You are excited for those things to happen. You just take those steps and keep it going. I am going to continue to do what I do every day, come to work every day, put my best foot forward and give maximum effort."

Sutton, a cornerback taken in the third round of the NFL Draft, came to the Steelers from the University of Tennessee with that mentality. He is young, but has the focus and determination of a seasoned veteran. He is a sponge right now, picking up as much as he can from players who are actually veterans.

"You get around the guys and feed off their energy," said Sutton. "It's a good time to learn from those guys and find out what helped them in their past get to this point. They can instill that into me and help me on my journey.

"Artie (Burns) and I talk every day, not just football but outside of football. He has been a big brother and mentor to me as well as the other guys in the defensive backs room. That shows how close we are and the bond we are going to have this season."

Burns, who joked that in his second season he doesn't fully feel like a veteran, is doing for Sutton what others did for him last season when he was a rookie.   

"I just give him what I can, whatever advice I can give him and help him with," said Burns. "That's what I wanted from somebody older than me, to come and help me. That's what I want to do for him."

Learning the ropes: Sutton isn't the only rookie who continues to grow and is focused.  

T.J. Watt said he has made immense progress in learning the playbook, something that he knows will continue in the time leading up to training camp at Saint Vincent College.

"I feel like I know the playbook pretty well," said Watt. "Not as well as I want to know it. There are a lot of nuances that are tough to understand. But I feel like I am getting the grasp and that is letting me play faster and interact with those guys better."  

While James Conner has been limited on the field due to a hamstring injury, he is using the time to learn as much as he can, including some special teams.  

"I am working with some great guys in the running backs room," said Conner. "They are helping me with protections and things.  

"I am going to try and learn all of the special teams, all four phases, and see if I can make an impact and try to earn a role on special teams for sure."

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