The former Nittany Lion and current Tennessee Titan special teams' ace provides exclusive insight for Fight On State.

NOTE FROM KRISTIAN DYER: Former Penn State linebacker Tim Shaw has been living the NFL dream since being a fifth-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2007.

His primary role in the league has been has a special teams' cover man, where he spent the 2007 season with Carolina before moving on to Jacksonville in 2008 and then emerging as one of the best in the business in Chicago in 2009.

Last summer brought another move, to the Tennessee Titans, where Shaw has logged seven tackles through four games this season.

Shaw will be offering occasional blogs for FightOnState.com throughout the season, to keep fans up to speed on the life of an NFL player. This is the first installment.

Playing in the NFL is everything that I thought it would be and yet, it is nothing like I thought it would be. It was my dream ever since I was a kid in elementary school, so one of the coolest things is to be doing what I have always wanted to do and what I dreamed about doing. I still stand out on the field while the crowd is roaring, ready to run down on a kickoff and smash a ball carrier and just smile and say to my teammates, “we really get to do this today?” I'm pretty sure I have the best job in the world.

It may sound funny, but I sort of like being under the radar a bit in the league. Sure, there are the big-time guys with the big -time money and everything that goes with it. But it's nice to be on the lower end of the spectrum in the locker room.

The pressure is less and the perks are great -- it is just a blessing to still be able to play the game I have always loved. Every year I've been pushed to perform at a higher and higher level, and the pressure has yet to decline. There has always been somebody younger, bigger, faster or better -- or so the teams I've been on have thought that.

I've learned that there always was and is someone trying to take my job. This business is so cutthroat, it's unbelievable, but that is what makes NFL football so great. There is a level of competition among each team just to make it, let alone play on Sunday. That constant pressure situation has raised my game up every year along with the constant desire to earn respect as a player and person as I've moved from team to team.

But while things are cutthroat and there is tons of competition, we also are a big family.

During the season, I don't do much other than football and rest, but I always manage to find some time to eat with my teammates. We had a linebacker dinner last week. It's bonding for our group, and also always a great time. We went to Stony River. Honestly, it was one of the best steaks I've ever had, even though the rookie who had to pay tried suggesting Hooters.

It is male bonding at its finest. Among the fabricated stories about football conquests and crazy things we've done, some guys shared their real stories about how they've made it to the league and you just sit there and listen, respecting their hard work and effort. There is always something good to take away from moments like this. I realized that we all have one thing in common -- the resiliency, and nothing can stop my will to make it in this league. It was a cool night with my new teammates.

Even cooler was the fact that the rookie paid.

People often ask me what things I like most about the NFL. Well, the opportunities to serve and impact people as an NFL player are awesome and definitely are a personal highlight to me. Every day -- literally -- I get the chance to positively impact somebody. One of my favorite places to spend my time was the Boys and Girls Club in Charlotte when I played for the Panthers. My time there was awesome because these kids just wanted attention and love, so I did my best helping them with homework or just playing with them. Truth is, we all have opportunities like that every day. I'm blessed with mine.

Man, we had one stolen from us on Sunday. Our defense is playing so great and we dominated the Broncos, but we let it slip away from us in the end. Our fans are so awesome, though, definitely the loudest and craziest fans of all the pro teams I've been on. We are going to stick together and have ourselves a great season.

Speaking of crazy fans: c'mon you Nittany Lions! I want all of you to know that while I am in the NFL, I represent and stick up for Penn State every week. I love the way the defense is playing and I'm excited to see how the young offensive line and quarterback will grow this season. I will always bleed blue and white and am excited for the rest of the Big Ten campaign.

Before I close my first blog here on FightOnState.com, I want to underscore that I know that I am living a dream. My job is amazing because I work with great guys every day. I've played with some of the best. -- Brian Urlacher, Julius Peppers, Steve Smith, just to name a few -- but these guys are all just real guys like me.

It's been an enjoyable journey so far. Well, that is, except for the time my rookie year when I got taped to the goal post and dumped on with Gatorade.

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