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Rookies hit the stage

Steelers rookies have been performing on the field since the start of OTAs, but on Friday, they took their performance elsewhere.

To the stage.

Well, kind of.

The rookie class took part in an acting class at Point Park University, led by the school's theater arts program, one that has an excellent national reputation and has placed performers in a variety of roles, including starring on Broadway.


The class is part of the team's Rookie Development Program, which exposes the players to different aspects, from acting to finance and everything in between.

"This class is one, being in an environment that's uncomfortable," said Darrel Young, the Steelers Director of Player Development. "And we're doing exercises and games that can transfer to the football field.

"And two, while most guys don't want to go into acting, there's little things can take from it. It can help with being in front of the camera, engaging with the media. It's putting guys in situations and making them uncomfortable and seeing how they react because that can prepare you for what happens in the fourth quarter or overtime.

"My rule is figure out what you don't like while we are playing and then we can go from there when you're done, and it helps the transition."

Whether that transition for any players one day leads to acting is yet to be seen, but they all got a great start, with drills and games that are used to help with reactions, remembering lines, improv and more.

"It was good to get out of my comfort zone and be with the guys, bonding over something different," said first round pick Troy Fautanu. "It was fun. It's about not worrying about what is going on around you, but being submersed in whatever game, scene was going on.

"The character everyone was playing, people's personality came out doing this stuff. The ones that were into everything, which I think everyone was, it was a fun experience that I never have done before. Hopefully I can come back and do it again sometime.

"It's important to get out of that comfort zone. You need it, especially when you are here with the guys, with your teammates, doing it. The closer you get off the field, the better things are on the field. Doing things like this only make you closer off the field and it helps when you get on the field."


Three Point Park professors, Aaron Crutchfield, Cindy Dallas and Rich Keitel, who all have done their share of theater and more, led the energy-filled exercises, ones that had players laughing, smiling and learning about themselves.

"It was fun to do this with the guys," said quarterback John Rhys Plumlee. "This is something a lot of us haven't done. Doing something new like that is a cool, fun experience.

"A lot of this is about team bonding. People know how much that means on the field. The closer you are to your teammates, the better you do perform. Doing stuff like that translates into that.

"And doing the improv stuff, a lot of football is improv. If a play doesn't go like you wanted it to be executed 100 percent, there is a lot of improv that goes on with it. For me, playing quarterback, when you get out of the pocket it's all flying by the seat of your pants and making it happen as you go. I don't know if that directly relates to acting, but there is improv in football."

Plumlee admitted that the exercises weren't exactly what he expected, some of them challenging, but fun at the same time.

"At first when we were told we were doing an acting class, we were asking what are we doing," said Plumlee. "Then you get here and have fun with it. Some guys do stuff and you bust out laughing. Other guys were pretty good with it.

"It was cool. It was fun."