Q&A: Anthony Gray

Anthony Gray stood up to introduce himself at St. Vincent College as a rookie who squats more than 800 pounds. Meet the Steelers' undrafted rookie nose tackle:

Anthony Gray, nose tackle, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: How did you end up here?

A: It came down to Green Bay, Seattle and Pittsburgh. I looked at everything here. Casey's been here a long time. He's the best in the business and I'm trying to be just how he is. He did great in this defense for 10-some years and I'm trying to be in a defense for 10-some years. So why not come and learn it from someone who's been here 10-some years?

Q: Isn't nose tackle just about gobbling up the center and stuffing the run?

A: No, it's a whole lot more complicated, especially when you've got centers like Maurkice Pouncey. He's quick as a cat and you've got guys just as strong and a whole lot faster.

Q: You bench 525 and squat over 800, don't you?

A: Yes, sir.

Q: How helpful is that for you at nose tackle?

A: It helps a lot, but you've got to get your hands on them first. Once you get your hands on him things tend to get a little easier. But it's all about repetition. Chris Hoke works with me on get-offs throughout practice, after practice, before practice. To him, he said the most important thing about playing nose guard is repetition and muscle memory so that when you play it's all about reaction and you don't have to think so much.

Q: Pretty nice of Chris to help a guy who could take his job, isn't it?

A: Yeah. Chris Hoke is a really good guy. Football is competition no matter where you go to, and as coach Tomlin always says, ‘Sword's sharpen swords.' I figure if I'm getting that much better, he's getting that much better also.

Q: Are the coaches telling you how good you're doing?

A: No. Rookies can't do anything right, even when you are right. But coach Mitch is a great guy. It's always about being technique-sound. He harps on that every day. No matter how many times you look at it, he's going to harp on it. You'd think you were right on that play, but he'll find something wrong with it. That's his job, and he does a really good job.

Q: He says funny things. Do you get amused? Or is that more for the vets?

A: I try not to laugh because he'll get on you for laughing. Sometimes you have to bury your head into your desk and just chuckle about it sometimes. He says a lot of funny things. He's a real good character. He always jokes around with the vets and stuff. He's a great guy to be around and he knows what he's doing. I'm just here trying to learn as much as I can.

Q: Is your experience here what you expected?

A: It's far from what I expected. The Steeler Way is that when you get out there on that field, it's all work and no play. The guys get out there and they do their job and they really treat everything up here like their job. When it comes down to playing, that's when the fun part kicks in.


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