The middle linebacker on a football field is expected to strike fear into the heart of any opponent. On Saturday, Lions' rookie Teddy Lehman began working on it.
Initially, however, he was the one with the nerves.
"Yeah, I was a little nervous," said Lehman, who saw his first action during the second half of Saturday's 27-21 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I had some butterflies. It feels good now."
Lehman was in on a tackle, but was caught out of position on a 4th down conversion by Pittsburgh late in the 4th quarter. In a deep zone coverage applied by the Lions, Lehman didn't drop back far enough, allowing Brian St. Pierre's pass to float over his head into the arms of the Steelers' receiver.
But it was a good learning experience for the former Oklahoma Sooner standout.
"I look back and wish I could have done better," said Lehman. "That happens every game, so that's expected.
"I basically started from nothing, so everything I saw out there was game experience -- just the whole atmosphere, the speed of the game, some of the routes, how the quarterbacks throw (the ball) better than they did in college."
The Lions have been grooming Lehman since late July to eventually become the starting middle linebacker, replacing veteran Earl Holmes. Although he is still in the learning process, the Lions have been pleased with his training camp progress.
Perhaps Lehman's biggest compliment came from a former No. 54. The color commentator for Saturday's game on UPN was former Lions' linebacker Chris Spielman, who remarked during the broadcast that Lehman looked better than he did during his first pre-season game.
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