Sports News 247

Nick Herbig’s Locker Includes Simple Message To Himself: ‘Rookie Of The Year’


Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin preaches a message of equality of opportunity in his locker room and practice field. Whether you’re a first-round pick or an undrafted free agent, you will get a chance to compete. The more you show, the more you earn. As he tells his players, it doesn’t matter how you got here, it’s what you do once you’re here.

And being a mid-round draft pick hasn’t discouraged rookie OLB Nick Herbig or lowered his expectations for himself. In fact, there’s a message for him—from himself—waiting for him in his locker every day, according to Mike DeFabo of The Athletic.

It’s just four words on a piece of scrap paper taped onto his locker at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, but what it lacks in elocution it makes up for in significance. The message is simple: “Rookie of the Year”.

Rookie of the year, of the National Football League, on a team that drafted two defensive players ahead of him in second-rounders CB Joey Porter Jr. and DL Keeanu Benton, both of whom have clearly paths to significant contributions this year than he does.

Though Herbig was a productive edge rusher for the Wisconsin Badgers over the past two seasons, the reality is that he is sitting behind two accomplished starters. That includes a fellow Badger alumnus and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year in T.J. Watt, as well as Alex Highsmith, neither of whom have come off the field much when healthy.

Is his goal of winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award realistic? Surely not. It would almost necessarily require that an injury take place to one of their starting outside linebackers for him to even be afforded the sort of playing time that could put him in the conversation.

But I’ll be damned if I don’t love the ambition. In a draft class that includes Will Anderson Jr., Devon Witherspoon, Jalen Carter, Calijah Kancey, Lukas Van Ness, Will McDonald, Christian Gonzalez, Jack Campbell, Nolan Smith, and plenty of other notable names taken in the three rounds ahead of him, he continues to aspire to the highest of goals.

The only time in roughly the past 50 years the Steelers have had a Defensive Rookie of the Year winner was in 2001 when ILB Kendrell Bell earned the distinction. While they have had three winners in all, the second-most recent was Jack Lambert. In 1974. And Joe Greene before him in 1969.

The Steelers do not need Herbig to be a star this year. They are already paying a couple of linebackers a lot of money to fill those roles. But if he can give the defensive a handful or two of qualities reps per game, particularly as a pass rusher, to give Watt and Highsmith an occasional breather, he’ll have done his job. But I suspect he’ll take the field for every snap he gets with the mindset of an award winner.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.