Signing with hometown team is special

Paul Lang is no different than other kids who grew up in Pittsburgh. He watched the Steelers every Sunday, cheered for his hometown team, and even had a few jerseys, including Heath Miller, Troy Polamalu and Ben Roethlisberger.

But Lang never imagined that one day he would be on the same field as Roethlisberger, the player he grew up a fan of.

Lang, a rookie tight end who played at Michigan State but grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon, was signed by the Steelers on Tuesday and immediately took part in his first OTA practice.

"It's such a great opportunity," said Lang. "Being that this is my hometown, it's awesome to be here. It's up to me now to make the most of it. I grew up watching this team, I grew up rooting for them, so I am honored to be here.

"I have some of these guy's jerseys I am out here playing with. It was cool to put this helmet on for the first time. It's fun."

As fun as it is, he knows there is a lot of work ahead of him. Lang already missed the first two weeks of OTAs, as well as the early stages of the offseason program, but he is ready to work to make up for lost time.

"It's a big challenge, definitely," said Lang, whose versatility as a receiver and blocker are an asset for him. "The main thing is getting the playbook down so I can play at full speed. You don't want to overthink. You want to be fluid in all of your motions. It's definitely a challenge. You have to get in your playbook and study it hard.

"It's a thick playbook. I don't want to waste any time in my free time. I have to take the time and really dive in."

He started off on the right foot when he spent extra time on the field after his first OTA session working with quarterback Landry Jones, and also got plenty of help from tight ends coach James Daniel and veteran tight end Martavis Bryant.

"They have helped me out so much," said Lang. "I was just working with Landry Jones. He was talking through specific routes. That helped a lot. Being with the quarterback is important. You need that camaraderie. It's good to learn from him, see what type of read he is making on certain plays and how he wants you to run the routes. A lot of people have helped out."

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