By Teresa Varley
For linebacker Donovan Woods, a rookie free agent from Oklahoma State, the NFL's cut down day had it's good and bad moments.
Woods found out that no news is good news, making the Steelers final 53-man roster.
But for his brother D'Juan, a wide receiver with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the news wasn't so good as he was released.
"It's kind of a bittersweet considering all of that stuff going on," said Woods. "I know my brother is a heck of a player. Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to."
On Friday Woods witnessed many of his teammates getting the word that they were being released. He tried to remain even-keeled and confident that he did what he had to do, while seeing what was going on around him.
"You know it's happening but you try not to think about it, even though you are going to think about it because it is happening right in front of you," said Woods. "You just hope you are not one of the guys they are going to get."
Woods learned he made the team simply by not hearing that he didn't. There was no tap on the shoulder on Friday, being told coach wants to see you and bring your playbook. There was no phone call on Saturday.
"When I got in the meeting room as long as my name wasn't called I thought I was good," said Woods of a team meeting on Friday. "It was mostly just not getting the call."
While he was savoring the moment, things were much different for his brother, who signed with the Jaguars as a rookie free agent in 2007.
"I told him keep on pressing," said Woods. "My dad always said every morning you have to get up and catch the mule. That's the attitude we take. Every day is not going to go your way. Every situation is not going to go your way. That doesn't mean you stop working.
"He was happy for me. He thought it was good I got my foot in the door and an opportunity and he wants me to continue to do what I am doing."
Woods has made a quite the progression to get where he is today. He was always the "little brother," often times losing out in competitions to D'Juan and Rashaun, a former draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers.
"It made me tough," said Woods. "Any time you are the little brother – and I am sure all of the little brothers know – they pick on you and don't let you do the things you want. That made me tougher. It was competition around the house 24/7. It was there every waking moment. I wasn't about to let another guy beat me."
He followed the same path as his two older brothers, attending Oklahoma State where he started at quarterback as a redshirt freshman. D'Juan was his primary target at wide receiver, Rashaun already having graduated by the time he arrived.
"I understand I am not them and they are not me," said Woods. "There are comparisons people make, but we are our own individual people so we take it in stride."
Woods went from playing quarterback, to safety and eventually linebacker, a position that earned the attention of NFL scouts and brought him to the Steelers. And he doesn't plan on leaving any time soon.
"There have been a lot of surprises, this is a good one," said Woods." It's been great to get here and do some good things, but I want to stay here."