Gilbert: 'I am just grateful'

For an NFL player, learning you were traded can come as a big surprise, and sometimes not a pleasant surprise.

But for cornerback Justin Gilbert, getting traded from the Browns to the Steelers on Saturday is a welcome change for the former first-round pick.

The Steelers prepare for the regular season Week 1 matchup against the Washington Redskins.

"I was a little bit surprised," said Gilbert. "I was more happy and shocked at the same time. I am just excited for this new opportunity, fresh opportunity, with these guys. Everybody has welcomed me with open arms and I am just ready to get to work.

"Words can't even explain how excited I am right now. I am just grateful."

Gilbert got to work with his new teammates on Monday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex as they prepare to take on the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football on Sept. 12. And he immediately liked the vibe from his new team.

"It's a lot different," said Gilbert. "It's a little more laid back. Everybody here knows what this team is capable of. At the same time when we hit the practice field it was a whole different level. I am excited for that every day.

"Being around the guys in this locker room, these guys know what it takes to win a championship. You have quality leaders on offense and defense. I'm just coming in looking up to those guys and following their lead for now."

Gilbert was selected by the Browns with the eighth overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in 23 games with two starts in Cleveland, and accounted for 29 tackles, nine passes defensed, and a 23-yard interception for a touchdown. He had some issues while with the Browns, but said he has grown up a lot and is just ready to move forward.

"All I know is what I can do and what I am going to do for this franchise," said Gilbert. "I want to go out and prove it every day. I don't want to talk about it so much, just show it with my actions on the field and my play. I just want to continue to be consistent as I have been in the past year. Continue to show I am here every day to work and show consistency.

"Just growing up off of the field. There are a lot of things that can distract you when you come in, but after a year in the league and not getting done what I wanted to get done in my first season, it's changed me and made me a new man."

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