Recently, I was able to connect with Steelers inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester. I asked him to give us a little peek into what is going on at Steelers training camp.© 2012 Steelers Universe
SU: Could you give us some idea about what the training day looks like for the linebackers?
Sly: Well, it really depends on how you want to go about it, and what time you want to start. Some of the older guys like Harrison like to start their day real early. They will start lifting about 6:30 in the morning. We have to get our breakfast in and be ready for meetings by 8:30 AM. At 10:00, right after meetings, we have our first walk-through practice. By about 11:00, we are in the weight room, and then we all go together to get lunch.
We have some downtime after lunch and a lot of us like to start warming up for practice which starts at about 2:50 PM. Practice lasts about two hours and gets over about 5:00 PM. We eat and then get ready for meetings at about 7:15 PM. Some people get out of the meetings at about 9:30 PM and others get out at 10:00-10:30 PM, and curfew is at 11:00 PM.
SU: I know that you are seeing a lot of new faces and that you have to be aware of the absence of familiar faces like James Farrior, what has that been like for you?
Sly: You know, you can't ever really replace guys like Farrior, who have meant so much to this organization. All you can do is try to build off of them, and the things that they taught us. You just have to keep in mind that this is a business. New guys come in and older guys leave. In fact, I just saw some new guys, who just started today. That's the name of the game. itís a business. You have to fight for your position, and compete everyday when youíre on a team like the Steelers. Itís Tough, it really is, but guys like Farrior know that when they come in. Now I just have to try and get some of the newer players acclimated because football is the ultimate team game. You have to make sure these new guys know everything you know so that everyone can contribute when it's game time.
SU: Where have they been lining you up at? Are you playing Buck or Mack?
Sly: I'm playing the Buck. They have Foote in there right now and I'm backing him up. You know they actually rotate all of us, so that we all know both positions. It all changes daily so that Coach Butler can make sure we know our assignments and can fill in if needed.
SU: I know that you haven't had very many reps, but have any of the rookies stood out so far?
Sly: You know, we are at a place where it's really not possible to say that someone is doing well. I really don't look for that and most of us are just trying to make sure we are doing what we need to do and focusing. It's really too early in the process to judge if someone's a player yet. You know, all of the guys, including the veterans, have some trouble this early. I think the rookies are doing alright but I canít really say that anyone has caught my attention. Everyone is in practice mode right now. When game time comes, ask me again because that's when you can tell if someone is special.
SU: I wanted to ask you a non-camp question. In high school, I know that you were considered a very good basketball player. In your downtime do you get the chance to shoot hoops, and is there anyone on the team that can challenge you?
Sly: (Laughing) Oh, man! This team is full of basketball players! Everybody seems like they can play. Actually I haven't got the chance to play for a while. It's a little hard, with me being about 30 pounds heavier than I was in high school. Yeah, I mean, basketball is great. Our rookie year all of us did a little thing, Maurkice, Antonio, Emmanuel, Jason Worilds, and the rest of us did a little charity work. It was after that, that we all started running together so it really brought us together. We still all play occasionally, even the big guys, when we get the chance. You honestly never know what anyone can do on the court, so you have to respect everyone.
SU: Sly, I know you have to get to practice. Thank you for taking the time to talk with all of us at Steelers Universe.
Sly: Thank you. See you all this season.