Steelers 2016 Rookie Camp = Dream Come True for Many

One week after the 2016 NFL Draft, the Steelers rookie camp is being heldĀ this weekend, with members of the Steelers 2016 Draft Class, the Steelers 2016 undrafted rookie free agent class and even players invited to camp to tryout, participating in the hopes of beginning (or, in some cases, continuing) their football careers.

  • As it pertains to the drafted rookies and UDFAs, I always look at them with envy.

Why? Because, to me, they represent that moment where a person has finally “made it” with regards to his or her career. Sure, statistically, a number of these rookies will see their dreams squashed before the end of this summer’s training camp. But, right now, every single one of them has a chance to make an impression and get a leg-up on a career in the NFL.

Just picture that dream job you may already have or are still aspiring to obtain. How did you feel when you finally arrived and knew you would get your chance? If you haven’t found that job yet, just imagine how you’ll react when opportunity comes knocking.

Can you imagine having a dream of playing in the NFL and arriving for the first day of your rookie camp and talking (or, let’s face it, listening) to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, as he welcomes you to the team? I mean, this is a guy you probably watched on TV growing up as a kid. You’re old enough to remember Super Bowls XLIII and XLV. You’ve likely watched Tomlin interact with player after player on the sidelines during game; now he’s interacting with you. You’ve seen him hug his troops and chew them out.

  • This weekend, he might do one or the other (or both) to you.

Picture being the parents of one of these rookies and telling your friends that your son is beginning his dream of playing in the NFL. Can you imagine the feeling of pride they may have right now?

As for me, a fan of the Steelers, it’s neat to think that at least one of these rookies will some day do something awe-inspiring and give me memories that last for the rest of my life.

Maybe first-rounder Artie Burns will intercept a pass in a postseason game and take it all the way to the house, clinching a trip to the Super Bowl (think Troy Polamalu in the 2008 AFC Championship game at Heinz Field). Maybe one of these UDFAs will beat the odds, establish himself as an NFL superstar and one day go on to make history in the Super Bowl (think James Harrison and his 100-yard dash in Super Bowl XLIII).

To me, as a fan who always fantasized about playing in the NFL when I was a kid, these rookies are chasing the ultimate dream. And when you think about the long-odds of any high school football player even making it to one of these camps, they’ve already achieved something special.

So whether you’re Artie Burns (first player drafted), Tyler Matakevich (last player drafted) or one of several undrafted free-agents, in a way, you’re already living a dream.

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