Stephon Tuitt, the Steelers’ second-round draft pick, walked out of the Steelers locker room and was quickly greeted with a handshake from linebacker Jarvis Jones. Tuitt might not have known immediately who it was extending the hand, as he had similar greetings all day. But what he knows is just like the rest of the Steelers rookies he is getting a warm welcome from his new teammates.
Tuitt, along with the majority of the other Steelers’ rookies, arrived at the team’s practice facility on Monday to take care of rookie business, like getting fitted for their helmet and other equipment, meeting with trainers and team personnel, and getting mandatory headshots taken.
“It’s been super crazy,” said Tuitt, the defensive end from Notre Dame. “I think this is a blessing. I can’t wait to get to work and start producing and helping the team.
“It’s kind of surreal. People have made comments that make me aware it’s a business, a job. But at the same time I am here to enjoy myself. I am 20 years old, I am loving life and I am part of the Steelers. I am just excited to play some football.”
The same could be said for all of the other rookies, happy to be getting the details taken care of, but ready to get down to the business of playing football which begins on Friday with a three-day rookie minicamp.
“It’s good to get used to stuff before you jump right into it,” said third-round pick Dri Archer, moments before checking out his new locker. “We get a few days in advance to get used to it before minicamp gets here.
“It’s a great feeling. It’s time to get to work now. We have had a long time off waiting for the draft. Now it’s time to play football. I am really ready for it. I am excited for it.”
Archer, a running back/wide receiver from Kent State, said arriving at the team’s practice facility made it finally hit him that he is now in the NFL.
“It’s like a dream come true,” said Archer. “I’ve been playing football since I was six. My goal has always been to play in the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers have given me a chance at that when they drafted me in the third round. It’s a great feeling.
“It finally hit me today. I am living my dream.”
Tuitt, who arrived in Pittsburgh on Saturday and has been here every since, got a chance to see what Steelers fans are like at the team’s Fan Blitz over the weekend, and exploring the area a little bit. He said he already likes the fan base, and is hoping to be a part of a team that brings them another Super Bowl trophy.
“I am glad to be a part of a city where the city revolves around the football team,” said Tuitt. “I can’t wait to produce. I made it to a championship before with my team and we fell short. I know that feeling. To be here and be a part of a team that won those championships is awesome. To be a part of a team that is a contender every year is awesome and makes you just want to work harder. Being here playing for the Steelers in special.”