Local players happy to stay home

For several of the Steelers undrafted rookie free agents, reporting to work for minicamp this weekend meant not having to stray too far from home.

A trio of them, Pitt's Scott Orndoff and Terrish Webb, and West Virginia's Rushel Shell, are all from the Pittsburgh area and happy to be staying close to home and being familiar with their surroundings.

"I definitely think there is value in that," said Orndoff, who is from Waynesburg, Pa. "I am in a city that I know. If there is something I need, I know where to go get it. If I need something from my family, I can call them and they can be here quick. It helps to be in a more comfortable city."

And it's not just the city they are familiar with, but the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex as well, as the Steelers share the building with Pitt football.

"I never thought the team that would be best for me would be the team that is right next door," said Orndoff. "It's weird. Other than coming here a couple of times, I had never really been on this side of the facility before now. I don't think I had gone further than the lobby. It will be weird when the Pitt players are back too and I cross paths with my former teammates."  

There are already some familiar faces in the building. Orndoff and Webb played together at Pitt, along with James Conner, one of the team's third-round draft picks.

"It's a blessing," said Webb, who is from Clairton, Pa. "This place is like home to me. We were just right next door. This place is like home for sure.

Steelers' rookies take the field for rookie minicamp.

"And at home, everyone is excited. I am from Clairton, we all grew up Pittsburgh Steelers fans. It's just amazing that I get this opportunity to put on this jersey." 

For Shell, who transferred from Pitt to West Virginia after his freshman year, this was a chance to come back home.  

"It was more of a blessing, coming from where I come from," said Shell, who is from Hopewell, Pa. and said his entire family were Steelers fans well before he was signed. "It's something I can show the little kids in my area that you can make it out in a positive way and do positive things.

"I am going to take it day-by-day and be thankful for the position you are in and work harder than you ever have before. I am looking forward to it a lot. I am hungry and have a lot to prove."

Orndoff always watched the Steelers growing up, and once he transitioned into playing tight end watched one of the best ever to play the game.

"In high school when I knew I was going to be playing tight end, I tried to watch Heath Miller more," said Orndoff. "But I have always been a fan of Hines Ward. I don't know why. I just like the way he played the game. He was different than most wide receivers and he is one of the Steelers greats. He was always my favorite player to watch.

"There is a lot more excitement from my friends and family that I am playing for their team also. I am thankful to be here. It's a huge opportunity for me."

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