Adrian Robinson remembers what it was like about a year ago, when the rookie linebacker was awakened in his hotel room by knocking on a nearby door. He could hear a voice in the hallway, talking to someone in the room next to him.
"Coach wants to see you," Robinson heard someone from the team's scouting department say. "Bring your playbook."
He lay there a few minutes longer, and heard another knock. And then another.
"I kept hearing it again and again," said Robinson. "I heard it in the room next to me, across the hall, on the other side of me. They kept saying the same thing, 'Coach wants to see you, bring your playbook.'"
His mind raced, would the next knock be at his door, or would he survive. The suspense was making him crazy. He couldn't wait. He had to find out what his future would be.
"I thought if I am going to get cut, I am going to get cut," said Robinson. "I opened the door and they were getting ready to knock on another door and I walked up to the guy and looked him straight in the eye and said, 'Am I going to get cut?' He told me no, Adrian, you are fine.
"I was like, okay. I still had a straight face, but then I walked back into my room and had a smile and was like yes."
It was a special moment. A moment that he thought might never happen after he went undrafted a few months prior. He won't ever forget what it felt like to not hear his phone ring, to not have a team take a chance on him with one of their draft picks.
"It was tough," admitted Robinson. "The day of it was sad, I felt upset that day."
A phone call after the draft from the Steelers changed all of that. The team signed the rookie free agent, giving him a shot, even though it was an outside shot.
"It was a blessing I landed with the Steelers, with an organization that I really like," said Robinson. "It was a blessing in disguise. You never think being undrafted would be a good thing, but it made me hungrier and the grind that much more important.
"I have a big old chip on my shoulder. It's there every time I go on the field. It has to be there. You say to yourself you have to do a little more than the other person. People don't expect anything from the undrafted guys. Every day I want the coach to remember something about me. That is something I work for."
And the work can never end. He fully understands that making an NFL roster is not a guarantee. He knows what the numbers are like at linebacker, he knows what the competition is like. Special teams right now are his bread and butter, but he knows he needs to do more.
"If you are not a starter, even if you are, you have to be on special teams," said Robinson. "I know that is a big part of it. You have to have the same mentality as you do on defense. You have to say nobody can stop me.
"There is a lot of competition right now. It's a fight, a fight for your life. It has to be that way every time I step on the field. It's a fight."
And the fight is far from over. Robinson will utilize every snap he receives in practice and the final two preseason games to fight for a spot on the 53-man roster. He knows nothing will be handed to him, that he has to earn it.
"I go for it all of the time," said Robinson. "I feel like what kept me around was the hard work mentality. You have to have that.
"There are different types of spoons out there. Some people have silver spoons, some people have a dirty spoon and you just have to keep rinsing it off. That is what I feel like right now; I just have to keep rinsing it off. But one day that spoon will be silver."