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Rookies ready for it

LATROBE, Pa. - It's what they have been waiting for since there were drafted by the Steelers a few months ago. An opportunity to go out on the field and show what they are capable of not in a practice setting, but in game action.

The Steelers open the preseason on Thursday night against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, and for the team's rookie class it will be the first time they will have the opportunity to impress in game action.

"I am looking forward to it a lot, just to see how I am feeling before the game starts," said James Washington. "I know my nerves will be up. That is part of the process, how it goes. It shows how much you care. It gives you that adrenaline rush to start out fast and play aggressive."

That adrenaline rush is something all of the rookies said they will have. It's a natural thing.

"It's exciting. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL," said Marcus Allen. "It will be exciting for me. I will have butterflies. I always have butterflies, even when I step on the field. It always happens."

Coach Mike Tomlin hasn't announced the rotation at quarterback yet, but Mason Rudolph is looking forward to any opportunity he gets.

"It's going to be fun to go out there with my new coaches and teammates," said Rudolph. "It's exciting. It's going to be fun. I think we have a good plan together. I feel great. I feel like I am a lot more comfortable. It's slowing down a lot more. It's a credit to Coach (Randy) Fichtner, Coach (Matt) Symmes, and the whole offense staff for helping me along.

"People always ask players do you still get nervous. I am such a perfectionist, every game, in warmups, the first drive you are always a little nervous because you expect so much from yourself because you want to rise to the occasion. Once you get in there it's football, the same game you have been playing for a long time."

And after weeks, and really the whole offseason of going against their teammates, going against another team is going to be a good change of pace.

"I am excited," said Chukwuma Okorafor. "Everything is going good. I am learning things, playing better every day. It will nice to finally be able to go out and play a different team. I can't wait for it."

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers 10th day of training camp.