James: 'It was a great feeling'


When rookie Jesse James made his first NFL reception, a nine-yard catch in the first quarter against the Raiders on Sunday, the Heinz Field crowd did what they normally do when a tight end makes a reception.

They cheered 'Heeeath.'

James heard the cheers, and had to laugh as most of the Steelers faithful have come to expect those plays to come from Heath Miller.

"I heard it," said James. "It was a great feeling to make the catch. That didn't take anything away from it. It was awesome. It was nice to get it out of the way early in the game and I didn't have to worry about it. It's always good to make productive plays, especially early in the game."

James was active for the first time this season, stepping in with Matt Spaeth out with a knee injury. He has waited the first eight weeks of the season for the opportunity, learning, taking it all in and his patience paid off.

"It helped in a big way not playing early," said James, who said he got the game day jitters out of his system before he made it to Heinz Field. "You go out there week one and don't know what to expect. I didn't go through that. I knew what to expect, especially after eight weeks. I was able to learn what the sidelines are like, how Matt and Heath communicate throughout the game. I felt great. I felt like I was there before and it was nothing new.

"It was great getting to play. It was a lot of fun. It was a close game and it kept it interesting the whole time. I enjoyed every second of it and tried to take advantage of my opportunity."

The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field in Week 9.

James, the team's fifth-round draft choice this year, made the most of the opportunity with two catches, his second one being his first NFL touchdown, a four-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to give the Steelers a 35-21 lead.

"That was awesome," said James. "I came open early and Ben put it on me and it worked out great. It helped put our team in a position to win the game."

What also stood out in James' game was his blocking. He drew praise in the press box for it during the game, and from his teammates afterwards.

"This place looks at blocking in a big way, especially in the tight end room," said James. "James Daniel puts emphasis on the fact that you can't play here unless you are a great blocker and you finish every play.

"Throughout camp and the season so far I have tried to learn everything I can from these guys and put it on display and I think I did that."

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