I first interviewed Chris Schleuger prior to the NFL Draft just a couple months ago.
Building a relationship with these players has been my goal from the start and Schleuger is one of the nicest athletes I have ever met.
Schleuger started his NFL journey as a member of the Iowa Western Community College in 2013 and 2014 . Where he played three games as a tight end where he hauled in six receptions for 41 yards. As Schleuger transferred from Iowa Western, his career path sent him to Northern Iowa before finishing his final two seasons of eligibility at University of Alabama Birmingham.
Schleuger, although not hearing his name in the NFL Draft, inked a three year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
I wondered what Schleuger did in Pittsburgh when he was at the training facility and when I asked him about what he did to relax, Schleuger simple said, “when I’m not at the facility I have found myself going to Pittsburgh Pirates games, or just walking around seeing what is all around in Pittsburgh. Basically just relaxing not being stressed or rushed anywhere.” I recently traveled to PNC Park with my dad and if you have not yet been to the stadium believe me when I tell you it is a beautiful park. Looking into the outfield you get a terrific view of the city while watching a great game of baseball.
Schleuger grew up in Wesley, Iowa and even though his collegiate career brought him to Northern Iowa and UAB, the ultimate destination saw Schleuger playing professionally for the Steelers.
I asked Schleuger what his biggest goal was going from UAB to the NFL and he replied, “I want to be seen and not heard. What I mean by that is that I want them to point me out like ‘wow look at his technique’ and ‘always know where to go’ or ‘never gets beat.’ I don’t want them to have my name come up for a mistake or an error. So just being technically sound, and being a fundamental master. With being a rookie, you don’t get many opportunities to show what you know and can do, so its very important to always know what to do at any moment, because you never know when the opportunity is going to come your way.” Schleuger proved during his time at UAB that his technique is outstanding and very rarely gets beat on plays during the game and with that Schleuger has found success during his time with the Steelers.
Schleuger recently completed rookie camp and I was honored with an opportunity to hear about his experience, Schleuger said, “the rookie camp was an awesome experience! There you come together with kids all over college football. The coaches wanted to see how much knowledge you can retain and how you were able to learn! They also want to see how well you are able to adapt to a different position.”
Now that rookie camp and OTA’s are completed, the Steelers are preparing themselves for training camp as the football season is just around the corner. Every player has at least one take away from their experience in their first rookie camp and OTA. I asked Schleuger what he took away from OTA’s and he replied, “the veterans want to help bring you along with the process and also want to see you improve every day. If you make a mistake one day, they want to see how you react to it and how you’re going to move forward, or if you are stuck on that one play.”