James: 'It's stressful'

The NFL Scouting Combine is the ultimate job interview for more than 300 of the top college players. It's an opportunity to prove yourself in front of every NFL head coach, assistant coach, general manager, scout and just about everyone else involved in NFL football operations who descend upon Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Several Steelers shared what their past Combine experience was like, what the experience was, and what they liked, or didn't like, about it.

Jesse James feelings toward the Combine aren't uncommon, because not often will you hear a player say that they loved the Combine.  

"I hated it," said James. "It's stressful. The schedule is awful. You never sleep. You are stressed. It's miserable.

"It's different. You are walking out in your underwear and everyone is watching you. You have to be prepared for it. It's a grind. It's not easy to be in a situation like that and perform well. When you are able to do it, it's more impressive to the coaches you can handle it."

There were some aspects James appreciated, including getting to know the other tight ends that were draft eligible, and talking to Coach Mike Tomlin and tight ends coach James Daniel.

"It was a good experience getting ready for it, hanging out with other guys in the same position, wanting to get drafted and have success in the NFL. It was an interesting time. It was fun at the time. But it was not one something I enjoyed.

"I talked to James Daniel. We had a nice talk. I talked to Coach Tomlin shortly and he told me I would be in for a visit. It was good. I had good interaction with them. After that I felt like I would come to Pittsburgh and I ended up here.

"It was exciting leading into the draft and thinking that. I was waiting for the call and to have that 412 number come up. I hoped it wasn't one of my friends and when it was Coach Tomlin, I was excited about that."  

One thing that stood out at the Combine for center Maurkice Pouncey was the interviews with the teams and how he had an immediate connection with the Steelers.

"Coming out of that meeting I knew this team was going to draft me," said Pouncey. "They didn't tell me that exactly, but the way they acted, the things they said, the clips we watched and what we talked about on and off the field, I felt so comfortable with them. The only person I told was my brother. Even when my mom asked who I thought was going to draft me, I told her I don't know. When that day came I knew the Steelers were going to draft me.

"Going into the Combine you think all you need is one team out of 32 to like you, so just go out there and impress everybody. Walking out of that meeting with the Steelers made me so extremely happy. I thought this is where I am going to be and it happened."

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