First – we’ve been chatting back and forth on Twitter as you’e been traveling across the country. Tell me about the trip – what drove you to start the trip and how it’s going.
Well I ride a lot – I have a couple of bikes. I stay on the West Coast normally – I usually go back and forth from Kansas City since I had kids in the area – I’ve probably done that ten times already. But I’m riding now to West Point to see my son – he’s a law major there. He plays football there and there’s a list of things other than football he can do. He’s struggling a bit – his older brother started at the Naval Academy and I think my younger son is trying to hold himself up to that too. I guess I’m going there to tell him it’s ok to walk away from the game – the game ends for us all at some point.
First, can you let us know what you’ve been doing with yourself since your time in the NFL?
I was coaching youth football for the past two years but stopped now since my son’s now playing baseball instead of football. I’m following him full-time – following him and his dream.
I’m retired now. And I’m giving back to the inner city community – that’s my passion. Seeing kids follow their dreams through athletics and coaching them to succeed.
First, how did you find your way to Pittsburgh as their Linebackers Coach in 1973 when you started with the Steelers?
I was the Linebackers Coach at the University of Minnesota previously, but I had coached at Michigan State before that. George Perles was the coach there and he used to be the Steelers Defensive Coordinator. So when the job opened up he recommended me to Chuck and I interviewed with him and he hired me.
Why do you think he wanted you to take over?
I had no experience as a player or coach in the NFL. But he told me he was looking for a teacher. That was his primary goal – he wanted someone to come in and teach his stuff to the players.
You’re a busy guy! So let’s start with some of the work you’re doing now with your LaMarr Woodley Camp5 6 program – tell us about that?
Well, Camp 56 is designed for all kinds of athletes. High school athletes who aren’t getting attention from colleges come to the camp – and we have coaches from D2 and D3 schools come in to work wth them to try to find those diamonds in the rough. Many of these kids are from small school, schools with bad teams or who have coaches that don’t do a great job of getting the word out about their players.
We give these kids the college feel – we bring it to life. I’ve been doing this for two years now. We had eighty kids last year – we try to keep it small so that all of the kids get reps and exposure. So far twenty-two of these kids have gotten scholarships.
First, let’s talk about your Tae Kwon Do experience – I’m curious how you got started with that and why?
It was my first year in the league. I tore my ACL the second day of camp and I needed total reconstructive surgery on my left knee. Terry Long was taking Tae Kwon Do and he took me with him. I wanted an edge to help me with my rehab. Terry told me about the master at his studio and now I’ve been seeing him for twenty-plus years.
I started it to make my knee stronger, but before I knew it I was doing competitions and fighting and competing, I was in competitions for a while but due to my contract I had to stop competing, Now, I don’t so it as much as I used to. Everyone wants to get to the ninth degree black belt – I’ll keep it going and we’ll see.
First, you more excited or nervous about camp starting this week?
I’m more excited about the opportunity ahead of me. It’s my first NFL camp – I’m just excited to get started.
How has being a local guy and Pitt alum helped you – especially as you’ve practiced as a college player next to the Steelers players? And how has having fellow Pitt alums like Orndoff, Conner, and Galambos helped you?
Yeah they’re familiar faces. You see those guys and they’re all faces you know and it makes you want to be the next guy. I’m just thankful as lots of guys don’t get that opportunity.
All of us Pitt guys – we all push each other. To do this or that and figure out what works and doesn’t work.
First, how is the offseason going for you – what have you been up to before camp starts?
Well, I’ve been back in Utah with my family – getting ready to move to Pittsburgh. I’ve been working out every day – twice a day – running at 6 am every morning…keeping my body healthy.
Coming off OTAs and your first camp, what were you biggest takeaways from those experiences?
The biggest thing is getting used to the speed of the game. The tempo – it slows down when you huddle but when it’s live, the speed is way different than college. The terminology is different too. But the OTAs were great – minicamp was great too. Getting to work with the older guys helped a lot.
First, let us know what you’ve been doing with yourself over the Summer between camps?
I’m down here in West Palm Beach with my family. I’m working out in the Florida heat – it gets hot in Pittsburgh but not like here. It’ s a different type of heat. I’m working out in Boca Raton – running and lifting twice a day.
As a local (IUP) guy, you signed this year as an undrafted free agent with the Steelers. Why Pittsburgh?
I have a close relationship with one of the head guys in scouting – a former IUP guy and he talked to me about signing. When the draft got into the later rounds I knew I wouldn’t be drafted and the Steelers reached out to me. Other teams did as well but I thought Pittsburgh was the best option. Continue reading
First, let us know how OTA’s and mini-camp went this year versus last?
The addition of more cover-2 is a good thing with these new defensive backs. These new corners and Coty Sensabaugh are really making this defense better.
Tell me more about the changes and how they affect you as well.
We’re playing as a team. No individuals – it’s a team thing. We’re playing all together and coming as one to get number seven this year.
The guys behind the starters – the guys behind us will be ready. I like where our defense is at. These cornerbacks can cover the backs out of the backfield and play bump and run – the whole lot.