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It was happy emotions for Norwood

Leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Steelers players will be sharing their Draft Day Memories, from the time they went to the NFL Scouting Combine, through the moment they were drafted. In this installment, defensive back Tre Norwood gives his take.

Tre Norwood - 2021 NFL Draft - 7th Round

Because of covid, my draft class didn't have an NFL Combine. It was a little tough. As a kid, loving sports, loving football especially, every year when it came around, we were in school at the time, but when the combine would come around I would always pull it up on my phone or I would go down to the locker room or the coach's office or whatever if I had some time between classes or whatnot and just try to watch it. Growing up that's something you definitely want to experience. So, it was kind of tough getting the news.

What made it a little bit easier, even though we didn't physically have the combine we still got invites to go to it. It still felt good to be able to get the invite, but not being able to actually go, it was a little bit different. I think there's pros and cons to both. I had a little bit more time to work on things that we needed to work on to get ready for pro day and everything. But it is a dream that you want to go out there and showcase yourself on that type of stage. It's something we couldn't control. We just had to make do. Make the best of the opportunity that we did have.

When it came to our pro day at school, I think not having the combine put more emphasis on it. If you go to the combine and you don't run how you want to run, if you don't test how you want to, you can come back and do it at that pro day. But with us not having to combine it was a one-shot deal. It definitely put more emphasis on a pro day because there was a one-time thing that we weren't going to get that second chance to correct the things that you wanted to fix from the combine. I looked at our pro day as the combine, whatever I was getting for draft prep and training and everything. It definitely put more emphasis on the pro day.

The pro day went well. What made it easier is my class coming out of Oklahoma, we had seven guys in my class that came out and participated. We were all close. We had juniors that came out as well, but just as a team we're all close. For all of us to be gone from each other for three months, training at our different places, and then being able to come back to the university, that brought us together and helped us become better players and presented us with the opportunity to go to the next level. It was just exciting. Just kind of glad to be back to Norman, and be back with the guys and compete, go out there and showcase all the hard work that was put in for our training for the three months that we did.

Having all of the coaches, scouts and general managers there was very encouraging. I was blessed to be able to attend a top-notch program when it comes to sports, especially football at Oklahoma. Our pro day, we had almost every team there, all but one. As a player it's very encouraging. It gives you the extra motivation to go out there and not overdo it, not try to do too much work, but be yourself and go out there and perform how you do. Trust your hard work that you put in. That's major props to the guys that set the standard before us, the coaches and players that set the standard to let us have the attention at our pro day.

I didn't really talk to the Steelers at my pro day. I had minimal contact with the Steelers through the process as a whole, except for the Senior Bowl where we meet with all teams. Other than that, I had very minimal contact with them during the process.

Because of that it did surprise me a bit I was drafted by them, but I wouldn't change it at all. I'm very blessed and happy to have gotten that phone call from Coach (Mike) Tomlin on that day. At first it was kind of shocking, seeing the 412 area code pop up on my phone and it was Pittsburgh. I'm strong in my faith, strong believer in God, so everything happens for a reason. I'm very blessed and happy to receive that call from Coach T on that day.

For the draft it was a very intimate thing for me. I'm real close to my family. My immediate family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, all my close friends came to the house and hung out. That kind of eased me a little bit, being able to be around them.

The whole process, that draft week, was the most stressful I've ever been. I'm a person that's pretty even keel. I pride myself on never being too high, never being too low. A lot of stuff doesn't get to me that much. It was a little nerve wracking that week. Not knowing how it was going to go. Being able to have my family there with me hanging out took that nerve wracking element away some. To be able to hang out and enjoy that moment with them. I'm glad they were there when I got the phone call.

You can't control waiting for the call. I think that was the most stressful part for me. You don't know when or where you're going or any of that, anything of that nature. During the process you hear things that this team likes you. You talk to your agent, and they say this team wants to get you. Things happen during the draft that may alter things. My biggest thing was just being in the moment, enjoy it, not overthink it. It's definitely tough with the wait, but it's all worth it at the end of the day.

When I did get the call it meant everything. I didn't care if I was the first pick called, the last pick called. If I heard my name called, I knew I was going to be ecstatic. I knew it could be life changing for me. To get that call is a huge blessing. As a kid that you always dream about it. I think every kid that gets into sports, you ask them their end goals and it's I want to be in the NFL or whatever the respective sport is. They want to be in that professional aspect of that sport. It was a huge blessing to get that call.

I reiterate being able to be there with my family and them to enjoy it with me, to enjoy that moment, was amazing. They were super excited, especially my parents and a huge shout out to them as well, just for all the sacrifices that they made for myself and my sisters. Growing up they allowed us to chase our dreams. They made a lot of sacrifices for us. So just being able to have them there and the rest of my family and my close friends, it was a great time. They were all super excited. I think it hit my mom the most, actually. A moment that I'll always cherish and remember it for the rest of my life.

It was emotional. I'm not going to lie. When I got the call, I kind of blacked out. When I say blacked out, it was so exciting that I don't remember the entire call. It was a little emotional for my mom. But it was all happy emotions. A moment I'll hold dear to my heart and cherish forever.

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