It's not unusual to hear young players talk about veterans taking them under their wing, helping them adjust to the NFL, teaching them the ropes and guiding them through a transition to a new team.
But for Steelers cornerback Levi Wallace, who is entering his fifth season, the tables have been turned.
Wallace signed with the Steelers in the offseason as a restricted free agent after spending his first four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He started all 52 career games he has played in, registering 219 tackles, 30 passes defensed, six interceptions, seven tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and a fumble recovery.
As he has adapted to his new team, it's second-year safety Tre Norwood, who has played in only 17 career games with just three starts, who has taken Wallace under his wing, helping him adapt to the Steelers and assisting him with his adjustment to the defense from the time he arrived for OTAs back in the spring.
"Having Tre Norwood, he is one of my closest friends on the team," said Wallace. "He kind of took me under his wing. He is a second-year player, but he really taught me the ropes, especially in that dime package.
"He is one of the easiest people to talk to. Really respectful young man. It's been cool. He is a pro through and through. Very mature on and off the field. It's easy to have a conversation with him, ask him about the defense.
"There is no ego. He wants all his boys to do well. And he makes all kinds of plays for us on defense as well. Just having a guy like that, easy to talk to, it's beneficial for me."
Norwood didn't look at helping Wallace as doing anything over and above, just simply helping a teammate and friend, just like others helped him last year when he was a rookie.
"I just felt like the help I got from the older guys last year, I want to do the same," said Norwood. "Coming in as a rookie, things were new. Just trying to adjust to all different aspects, even outside of football. A big shoutout to those guys who helped me, Cam (Sutton), Minkah (Fitzpatrick), Terrell (Edmunds), Joe (Haden). They took me under their wing and helped me out.
"We get anybody in here, vet, young, anybody, I just try to help out any way possible because I know I had that same help last year."
While he is very matter of fact about it, it truly isn't often a player that young serves in that role period, let alone for someone with far more experience than them. But the relationship the two developed made it natural.
"It's his second year and he acts like he is in year five already, which is dope," said Wallace. "You don't get a lot of guys like that when they first come into the league. I watched him last year and the plays he made. He is a big part of this defense and special teams. Having somebody like that in your corner, helping you and showing you simple things like what workouts we are doing today, different terminology in the weight room, it's all good for me."
It could have been tough for Wallace to accept the help from a player with less experience than him, but the relationship the two developed, and the character they both possess, made it a natural fit.
"Levi is a great guy," said Norwood. "He is a great football player, even better person. Great character. High IQ guy. He is a vet himself and for him to ask me for help, ask me for things, it says a lot about him. He is not filled with an ego, or too proud. He is looking to come in and get better. That describes our room as a whole. We have great vets. Guys who have been playing in the league, four, five plus years. We don't have a lot of ego in the room and that helps us grow together.
"It feels good to know I can help. I am still fresh in. I am still learning new things every day about this league, about the professional game. Just being able to help him means a lot. It makes you feel good that somebody wants to ask you for help and allow you to help him."
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