Rookies ready for next step

If there was one rookie who knew his way around the Steelers practice field during this past weekend's mini-camp it was linebacker Brandon Lindsey.

Lindsey, an undrafted free agent, played for the University of Pittsburgh, who shares the UPMC Sports Performance Complex with the Steelers.

Despite the familiar surroundings, there were still a lot of adjustments for Lindsey as he is making the transition from college to the NFL.

"I am learning a whole new system, how they say things and do things," said Lindsey. "That is the biggest difference. It seems like I will do more dropping (into coverage) than I did at Pitt and it's something I welcome. I will be ready by the time camp comes."

Lindsey plans on getting ready for camp by learning as much as he can from the Steelers standout outside linebackers, LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, during the team's OTAs that begin on May 22.

"You can't ask for more than learning behind players like Woodley and Harrison," said Lindsey. "I am going to pick their brains as much as I can."

After not being drafted Lindsey plans on coming to OTAs and training camp with a strong drive to prove that he does belong in the NFL.

"I was disappointed, I was mad, in tears," said Lindsey of the draft. "It gave me something to shoot for. I was told I could go in the third, fourth or fifth round. I stopped watching after the fifth round. I went to sleep and took a nap.

"I have to come in with a chip on my shoulder. I just have to be hungrier than the man in front of me. He can make the team and I could go elsewhere."

The Steelers took only one wide receiver in the draft, seventh-round pick Toney Clemons, but also added rookie free agent receivers Connor Dixon and Marquis Maze to the mix at the position. Clemons welcomes the competition, knowing it can only make him better.

"Everybody is fighting for a roster spot," said Clemons. "It's motivation. But you have to go out there and play your game and prepare the way you do. At every level there is competition, here it's just more elite. I have to be prepared, be on top of my stuff and find ways to get better every day."

Dixon, who is from the Pittsburgh area and attended Duquesne University, was happy that the rookies got a chance to get more repetitions during mini-camp with no veterans taking part.

"It helps to get acclimated better with just the rookies here," said Dixon. "You aren't thrown to the wolves with the veterans. It's a chance for us to get acclimated to this game, how they coach and everything."

Steelers' rookies had information flying at them at a fast pace over the weekend and running back Chris Rainey loved every minute of it.

"I learn fast so it's easy for me," said Rainey. "I came out of a good program at Florida. I am just out here having a blast."

Rainey has a lot to learn as he is being looked at not just at running back, but as a returner as well.

"It's not hard," said Rainey. "If you know the plays and are a fast learner and have the talent, if you can put it all together, it's not hard. You just have to put it all together and show them what you've got. You just have to do what you can do and have fun with it."

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