Wes Lyons, WVU/Steelers (2011) Wide Receiver:
First, can you tell readers about your book – what inspired you to write it and what the biggest issues you wanted to discuss?
“The Pursuit with Patience” is about the journey of my life. I really want people to understand the journey that athletes endure, both the positive and negative. My book describes what I did to overcome the obstacles of my life. The purpose of this book was to do the following:
- To provide a positive influence in lives and be a role model
- To help the youth understand the importance of education
- To help motivate the youth to read
- To be an inspirational voice
- To amplify the significance of goal setting
- To promote strategic thinking to overcome challenges
You wrote the book at a young age, relatively speaking. What message would you like to relay to athletes who like yourself have been or will be trying to find their place in professional sports?
My advice would be to move forward and keep pushing. “The Pursuit with Patience” discusses the importance of resilience and having a positive attitude. As an athlete trying to make a professional career in sports, you cannot wait for an opportunity to present itself to you. The opportunity often arises when you go above and beyond what is asked of you to get noticed.
How can readers purchase the book?
My book is available now on Amazon.com by searching either Wes Lyons or the title of the book, “The Pursuit with Patience.”
You had a successful career at West Virginia – what were your biggest assets and skills as a receiver at WVU?
- My Size- I was 6’8 and 230 pounds in college
- My hands- Catching the ball has always been one of my biggest assets
- Being a team player – I learned at an early age that it was important not to be a selfish player.
- Quick-Learner – I have the ability to study and dissect playbooks quickly to perform in a small amount of time. I also listen very closely in meetings and take mental notes to improve my skills.
What were some of your biggest moments in college football, and what are your thoughts about WVU’s move and the fact there’s no more Pitt-WVU backyard brawl?
I would say the biggest and best moment of my college career is when WVU played Pitt. While I attended WVU, I knew most of the athletes on the Pitt football team so this made the game much more exciting for me. I’m a very competitive person and I enjoyed playing against my friends.
My thought on the backyard brawl not being played are:
The worst thing that has happened to WVU since I left would be the fact that there’s no more Pitt-WVU backyard brawl. This game was one of the biggest games of the season each year and it meant so much to the fans and the players (past and present).
Surprisingly, you went undrafted and went on your first year to play for the AFL’s Spokane Shock. How disappointed and surprised were you to go undrafted and tell readers about your AFL experience?
I was very disappointed that I went undrafted and I speak on the disappointment in my book. I also mention the events that led up to that point and how I overcame this obstacle. I actually never played for the Spokane Shock. I signed a contract with this team just in case I didn’t get signed by a NFL team. When I was not drafted, I had a tryout with the New York Jets and that was the beginning to my NFL experience.
You were signed by the Steelers in 2011. How exciting was it for you, a Pittsburgh native, to be signed by Pittsburgh, and how did that occur?
This was the best feeling of my life! Not only was this the start of my journey as a professional athlete, but it was also special since I grew up idolizing the Steelers. My book explains in great detail how and why I was signed by the Steelers. This story is another great example of why it is important to stay focused and to always keep the big picture in mind to achieve your goals.
Who were some of the players that helped you adjust to the NFL and Steelers most – both on and off the field – and how did they do so?
I thought Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders were a big help throughout camp my first year. We would study the playbook together every night when we went back to our rooms after practice. During my second experience with the Steelers, Heath Miller, David Johnson and Lenard Pope helped me adjust as my position was changed to tight end.
How did the coaches work with you as a practice squad player and what were the biggest adjustments you had to make?
My wide receiver coach, Scotty Montgomery, was very helpful while I played as a wide receiver. In 2012 when I was playing tight end, I felt that my tight end coach did not help me as much. This made me feel like he did not want me there.
How hands on was Coach Tomlin with the players during practices and strategy sessions? Was he a strict disciplinarian or more hands off in that department?
With my experience, I would not call him strict because I had a very strict coach at WVU. Coach Tomlin was heavily involved during practices, but I did not feel that he was harsh – at least not until he cut me (further discussed in the book). Overall, he’s a good coach though.
Are you looking to get back into the NFL? What is your next career move if not, and have you sought any help from the NFL/Steelers in making that move?
I haven’t had much help from the Steelers to move forward in a NFL career. My book, “The Pursuit with Patience” has been an excellent way for me to stay positive and have something to look forward to. I will continue to promote my book, and if I get a call from a NFL team during this process, I will be ready! I currently work out daily and I am maintaining my condition so I am prepared if the opportunity presents itself.
Any last thoughts for readers?
Please support my book, “The Pursuit with Patience.” It provides you with a first-hand look of an athlete who has been faced with many adversities, but establishes ways to create opportunities because of the right discipline and attitude.
Read more by former Steelers via the book Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades. To order, just click on the book: