Worth the wait

The new NFL Draft format, going from two days to three days, meant just one thing to rookie running back Jonathan Dwyer. He would have to wait a bit longer than expected to find out where he would start his NFL career.

"It was more stressful on my family than me," said Dwyer, who was taken in the sixth round. "Some guys know what's going to happen when they go in. Me, I didn't know what was going to happen. I could have been gone the first day, the second day, but fortunately it was the third day."

While the wait was longer than he initially had hoped, it was certainly worthwhile.

"It's kind of unreal. It just happens," said Dwyer. "A lot of guys get worried, and then the call automatically comes. When I saw that 412 area code I didn't know who it was. I answered it, heard it was Coach (Mike) Tomlin and I was just ecstatic. Even though the situation I was in, where I slipped down into later rounds, I was going into a great opportunity with this organization.

"It's a blessing to have the ability play this game at this high of a level. Guys dream of playing at this level. Living up to those dreams and going on to newer and bigger goals is a blessing from God."

Dwyer will have a lot of work ahead of him, coming from Georgia Tech where he played in a triple-option offense. His responsibilities in the Steelers offense will be different, where he will be asked to make reads and line up differently.

"He's like most running backs," said running backs coach Kirby Wilson. "He'll have to learn the passing game and the protections and blitz pickups and things of that nature. He's going to have to learn a two-point stance all over again. He's been down for so long. I think I went back over a two-year span and he's got six snaps where he's lined up in an I-formation. So, it's going to be relearning for him. It's like getting back on a bicycle and starting all over again."

He is ready to roll with it, though.

"That's all I have been doing since I was five years old, running the ball," said Dwyer. "That's all we did at Georgia Tech. I am in the mindset of being able to do it, I am excited and ready to compete and have some playing time."

To get that playing time, though, he knows he is going to have to prove himself to his coaches and others along the way.

"I want to prove to everybody what I can do," said Dwyer. "I just want to win games and win a championship. I won a college championship and now it's an opportunity to win at the professional level. I am coming in excited, hungry and ready to compete and ready to give my best for this team and organization.

"I am happy coming to a winning team. You don't want to go to a losing team. Not just me, but all of these guys that are here we are coming into a great situation, the fact that we are on a winning organization, every year we have the chance to play in the big game. Who wouldn't want to play in the big game?"

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