Thanks to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Adam Graessle was signed to a free-agent contract this spring and is on their 90-man roster for now. He is hopeful that the Steelers will take him to training camp, but that is not certain.
Until then, Graessle is just enjoying his time back on the field.
"It's awesome to be back in Pittsburgh and practicing on these fields back here,'' Graessle said. "They called me in January and brought me in for a workout, and then they signed me to the spring roster. I was just at home in Ohio, in the gym working out, and they left me a message.
"For a year and a half, I was just working out, trying to get better. I really wasn't ready after college, but I signed with Green Bay last year and eventually got to play in the UFL last season with the California Redwoods (Coach Dennis Green). Then, I was picked up by the Steelers, and I'm very happy about that.
"Playing at Pitt, I always hoped to get a tryout with the Steelers,'' Graessle added. "I just wanted to get a shot, so I was real pleased to get the call. You know, it takes some guys longer to mature. I never really had a lot of instruction in college, but I've refined my game since then.''
Graessle accomplished that through some tutoring at the Gary Zauner kicking camp. The hard work paid off when the Packers signed him last year.
"I was kicking two or three times a week and getting a lot of balls in the air,'' Graessle said. "I kicked real well at the camp, and that's how I got picked up by Green Bay last year. And Gary Zauner also was my coach in the UFL (United Football League) last year.
"So, that really helped. He worked very closely with me. That was a real good experience, and it kept me playing football a little longer. So, that was great.''
With the Steelers, he is battling incumbent Daniel Sepulveda, a fourth-year player. The Steelers chose Sepulveda in the fourth round during the NFL Draft in 2007.
Graessle was a four-year starter for the Panthers, a kickoff specialist as a freshman and the team's punter his final three seasons. Graessle had three punts that traveled more than 73 yards in his career.
He had an average of 42.6 yards per punt and a net average of 36.8. Of his 169 career punts, 56 were downed inside the 20. He also had 80 of his 249 kickoffs go for touchbacks.
Graessle majored in marketing at Pitt and participated in a couple internships in Columbus, Ohio, near his hometown of Dublin. He worked for the marketing firm Weber Associates and in human resources for Abercrombie and Fitch in Albany, Ohio.
"I made enough money to keep trying,'' Graessle said, "and I'm real excited about my opportunity with the Steelers. So, I'm having a lot of fun right now.''
Hopefully, for Graessle, that will lead to lengthy NFL career.
Graessle Gets His Kicks
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