Monday Night Football always a thrill

Whether you are a rookie or a veteran, playing on Monday Night Football is special.

Rookie Shamarko Thomas remembers when he was a kid and loved to watch Monday Night Football. It wasn't always easy though, being a school night and lights out was well before the game would end.

"I always snuck and watched the games after my mom went to sleep and I would turn on the television," said Thomas. "I always wanted to see the games."

Thomas won't have to sneak around this week to watch. Instead he will be playing in his first Monday Night Football game. Yes, the team played on Monday night in the preseason this year, but this time everything counts and everyone will be watching.

"It's definitely exciting," said Thomas. "I have been watching Monday Night Football since I was a young kid. I was hoping to play in it. Now that I am finally playing in it, it is a great experience.

"When coach said the world is going to be watching my heart started beating. I realized all my friends and family would be watching. It's going to be an exciting night."

He isn't the only one energized about their first time playing on Monday Night Football. Number one draft pick Jarvis Jones is also ready to roll.

"Monday Night Football is big time football," said Jones. "We own the game on television. We have to play Steelers football and bring the great tradition. I am excited. We are looking for our first win. It's going to be a great game. We are focused, prepared, and we just have to get the ball rolling."

Unlike Thomas, Jones didn't watch football as a kid, but started to check out the games when he was in high school. He loves the fact that now all his friends and family can watch him play.

"It's a blessing," said Jones. "I am grateful for it. It's exciting to be in the position for young kids playing football to watch, and them looking to do something positive can see you play and they can say he did it I can do it."

While the first time playing on Monday Night Football is a thrill for the rookies, for veterans it never gets old. They too love the excitement, the energy and the spotlight that it brings with it.

"Every time is exciting," said receiver Antonio Brown. "You appreciate the opportunity and respect it. You know all of your peers and the world is watching and you want to make a splash for your team. You know you are going to be judged on every play, every situation and you have to pay more attention to detail and bring more energy."

Adding to the energy will be playing against the Cincinnati Bengals in a big AFC North matchup. Both teams opened the season with a loss, and getting that first win is huge.

"Coming off a loss last week, our home opener, this time Monday Night Football, prime time television against one of our division rivals," said linebacker LaMarr Woodley. It's a chance to get a win back this week."

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