Switzer experiences 'Life in the NFL'

The road to the NFL is never an easy one, and it's one that can have a lot of twists and turns.

Ryan Switzer is well aware of that.

Switzer was traded not just once, but twice in the last five months, but is hoping his third team is a charm.

"The things I am learning, everyone's path is different," said Switzer. "No one expects to get traded twice within their first year in the NFL. I've had an unconventional path, being drafted and then being traded twice. Ultimately I am here for a reason. I believe that. I am one step closer to finding the place where I fit in, where they are going to value me and where I can be myself. I am looking forward to that."

The Steelers acquired Switzer and a 2019 sixth-round draft selection via a trade with the Oakland Raiders, in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Switzer was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round (133rd overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was traded from the Cowboys to the Raiders in April.
And on Monday, trade No. 2 brought him to Pittsburgh.

"The second trade was a lot easier than the first trade," said Switzer. "You knew what to expect in terms of how the process would go. You didn't expect to be traded, but you knew what would happen. Hopped on a redeye last night, got here at 6:30 am this morning and now I am here. Life in the NFL."

Life in the NFL will likely be about the return game right off the bat for the wide receiver/return specialist. Coach Mike Tomlin said he would like to get him on the field on Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field, and Switzer is hoping for the same.

"I know the return game is something I can pick up quicker," said Switzer. "Obviously I am going to dive into the offensive playbook and try to find my niche there. I know that you can throw someone back there on the returns sooner than you can offensively. That is what I am trying to focus on now.

"(I need to ) get ready for this game on Thursday and set myself up going into Cleveland and trying to have as big an impact on this team I can. I am really fortunate to be in this situation I am in, with the talent that is on this team, the roster and the potential these guys have. I am excited and look forward to being a part of that.

"I got a little bit of experience in the year that I played. I was in a great system. I know Coach (Danny) Smith does it right over here. Hopefully I can get back to what I was doing in college, and the things that made me the player that I am. I am looking forward to doing that over here."

What he did in college is something that is familiar to a lot of people in Pittsburgh. Switzer played college ball at North Carolina, where he had one of his best performances of his career against the University of Pittsburgh in 2016, with 16 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown. Switzer also scored on a game-winning punt return against Pitt in 2013, at his new home, Heinz Field.

"I really, really, really enjoyed playing at Heinz Field," said Switzer. "I grew up going to some games there as a kid. I think the karma just followed me in college.

"I went to a Steelers-Vikings game when I was younger. I was on Heinz Field participating in Punt, Pass & Kick when I was in grade school. They were playing the Patriots and they let us out there. Great memories there. Feels like home. It feels good being back."

The Steelers prepare for the Week 4 preseason matchup against the Carolina Panthers.