By Teresa Varley
There probably wasn't anyone who enjoyed working out at the Steelers practice facility on Monday more than linebacker Keyaron Fox.
For him it was all about being home again.
Fox, who was an unrestricted free agent, signed a two-year deal on Monday and wasted no time getting to work in preparation for the 2009 season.
"I am very pleased," said Fox. "I was getting bored sitting at home. I couldn't wait to get back to Pittsburgh and join my brothers."
Fox had been hoping since the season ended that he would be back with the Steelers. After playing his first four years in Kansas City on teams that struggled, he was thrilled from the moment he signed a one-year contract with the Steelers last March and wanted nothing more than to continue his career in black and gold.
"From day one since I signed with Pittsburgh I have taken a liking to it," said Fox. "It's a totally different atmosphere than what I was used to. The whole organization, the people in the offices, it's a great feeling. It's a family-oriented business. You get a sense of home. That's why I didn't want to go anywhere."
There were some anxious moments waiting for the contract to get hammered out, but it was all worth it in the end.
"I tried to stay busy and get some other things started," said Fox. "I got a lot of work done getting my foundation up and running. I was doing things around the community. I was doing thing to try and keep my mind off of it.
"I definitely lost a little bit of sleep at night. At the end of the day this is where I wanted to be and I am happy we got this over with."
Last season Fox emerged as a special team's ace for the Steelers, finishing the season with a career-high 21 tackles in 13 games. It was a role he wasn't certain about from the get-go, hoping instead to win a job at inside linebacker. But with veteran James Farrior ahead of him, he accepted the role that he was asked to fill.
"I came in with hopes and dreams of starting," said Fox. "I worked hard at trying to learn the defense. I didn't learn it in time to be able to compete for the starting position. Farrior has been here, he did a great job last year. I just had to find my place.
"I never really liked special teams before last year, but I could do it. But with the atmosphere that is around this organization it allowed me to focus and I was happy where I was, so I was able to play better. The guys around me looked at me for leadership and I pulled from them. There was a lot of energy out there on the field."
And Fox expects there to be plenty of energy this year as well. The Steelers are coming off a win in Super Bowl XLIII, something that was the perfect ending for him.
"Last season was probably the best season of my life and my family's life," said Fox. "They were excited about me coming to the Steelers. The playoff run and Super Bowl were out of a storybook. You would dream about the game being close and coming down to the wire. That's what it boiled down to and we came out on top. It's been an amazing experience."
Fox hopes that there are more great experiences to come. He again is willing to do whatever is asked of him to help the team, but at the same time he wants to see his role grow.
"I want to start to be honest with you," said Fox. "I am not shying away from the starting position. Potsie (James Farrior) is one of my closest friends on the team. He has shown me a lot. He flew me to the Pro Bowl with him. We have a great friendship, we know each others family.
"But at the end of the day we are both competitors and we are going to be competing for this starting job. It will be fun. It's going to be a great situation."