PITTSBURGH — The Steelers start rookie minicamp on Friday at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. It’s a time for the newest Steelers to get used to the team, the coaches, the facility and the organization.
For one of those players, he won’t require much of an introduction.
Steelers safety Dravon Askew-Henry grew up rooting for the team as a youngster in Aliquippa, Pa., and still holds his hometown squad near and dear to his heart.
Askew-Henry signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent after graduating from West Virginia, and is hoping that he’ll be able to use what he learned with the Mountaineers — where he played four different positions on the defense — will lead to a spot not he 53-man roster in Pittsburgh.
Here’s an excuse interview with Askew-Henry in advance on training camp:
What’s the reaction been amongst friends and family to signing with the Steelers?
Everyone was excited. It’s kind of like a dream come true. I’m 25, 30 minutes up the road. It was an amazing time, but now it’s time to get to work.
What are you looking forward to about this minicamp?
I want to show them that I’m a hard-working guy. I don’t want nothing to come easy. I want to put the work in. I’ll give the Pittsburgh Steelers all I got just like I did when I was at Aliquippa Quips and at West Virginia playing for the Mountaineers. Football, I love the game. I’m coachable and I’m ready for the next chapter. … I’m just ready to get in there and get to work.
What can you show or prove in such a short session?
I’m gonna prove to them that I’m a guy. I’m a player. I’m a show them that I could’ve been a top draft pick. I’m going to go in there with a chip on my shoulder and I feel like I’ve got something to prove. That’s how I was my whole life. I’m out there trying to prove something to myself. They’re going to get a kid that’s going to come in there and work hard. They’re going to get a player, man. Aliquippa, we breed athletes.
How will WVU defense prepare you for NFL?
I came in as a corner. They moved me to free safety, then I played strong safety, then I played the hybrid position. So with the Steelers, I’ll be able to move around and play any position they need me to play at. Also, special teams. I play special teams and anywhere they need me in the back end, I can play.
What would it mean to play for the Steelers on Sundays and have you let yourself think about that?
I’m just taking it step-by-step at first, because I’ve still got a lot of work I have to do, but playing with the Steelers would mean everything to me. It’s the hometown team. I grew up watching them. Everyone around me is a Steelers fan. I’m a Steelers fan. It would be a dream come true.