Q&A: Josh Scobee

New Steelers PK Josh Scobee talks about Heinz Field, Terry Bradshaw, turning down an extra contract year, excitement over trade, and more.

Josh Scobee, kicker, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: You spent a few tough years in Jacksonville, what --

JS: A few? That's putting it mildly.

Q: But to have a chance for postseason, what's that do for you?

JS: That's the exciting part of it for me, because of what they talk about here. Coach Tomlin talks about winning a championship. To hear those things being said is kind of a shock to me, because of where we were at in Jacksonville I'd say the last seven years was not very good. It's tough. It's not fun to lose game after game after game. But I wish them nothing but the best there. Hopefully they're going in the right direction. They have great people in charge. But to be here now with where this organization is going and where it's been, I mean, I can say I'm truly excited.

Q: Could you talk about the history of the franchise and what it will be like to kick with the energy and the fan base that is at Heinz Field?

JS: Absolutely. I've played here four times. I played here twice in '07 and we won both of those games in Week 16 and in the playoffs, and this is one of my favorite places to play. The excitement and the energy in the stadium is unbelievable. I can still remember one moment when a song came on. I never felt the hair stand up on my arms like it did for that one moment. So I'm pretty pumped about that. I know the history of this team, following Terry Bradshaw. He's a Louisiana Tech grad like I am. So to look back on all the amazing players that have played here, I just hopefully can bring what I bring to the game and continue the success of this franchise.

Q: It's supposed to be a hard place to kick. Did you find it that way?

JS: I did. It is a hard place to kick because the grass doesn't tend to grow when it gets that cold. But you just have to have an extra focus and pay attention a little bit more to the conditions. As a kicker, the number one factor is the wind. Number two would be the footing. So as long as you're paying attention and know what you're doing, good things can happen if you strike the ball well.

Q: Golf courses probably aren't as nice here as they are in Florida, right?

JS: They'll be a little more hilly here but I brought my clubs. That's what I'm looking forward to. I've got a bunch of buddies who are big Steelers fans who play on the PGA Tour, so they're already pointing me in directions where to go play.

Q: Who's that, Josh?

JS: Jim Furyk and Steve Wheatcroft, both guys that live in Jacksonville that I play a lot of golf with. It'll be fun to have them come up. They've already talked about coming up and going to a game and possibly playing.

Q: When you played the Steelers in the preseason, you knocked four into the stands.

JS: Yep.

Q: I think one went through the uprights.

JS: Yep.

Q: Were you trying to catch the Steelers' eye? Shaun Suisham had been injured.

JS: No, at that point I had no idea. As a kicker you can't really focus on things like that. That's why I think I stayed in Jacksonville for as long as I could because I don't worry about stuff like that. I'm trying to focus on what I'm doing and the things I can control, so I had no idea what was going to happen with Garrett Hartley after Shaun went down. I was just trying to hit the best ball that I could because I was in a battle there myself, so I wasn't worried about anything other than what I was doing.

Q: Do you want to get over to Heinz Field between now and the first home game, other than Thursday night?

JS: Yeah. We were talking about that. If we don't get enough work in there Thursday in pre-game or during the game than we'll get back over there, just to get a sense of the wind, get some sight lines. It's good to get in there and pick out spots that you like to aim at. But since I've played here a few times, I still can remember in my mind what I'm looking at whenever I'm kicking. So that won't be a big change.

Q: The one end zone has been closed.

JS: Yep. That's what I've been told.

Q: Could you feel the wind when it was open?

JS: Oh, yeah. Yeah I can still remember the wind direction being exactly what I remember in my head, so it might change a little bit but I think being a kicker in the league for as long as I have been, you have to be able to read the wind properly. That's something I take pride in doing.

Q: Did Mike Tomlin remind you about that kick in '07 in the playoff game?

JS: No, we haven't talked about that yet. I did remind him that was the last playoff win that I've had. He took a good laugh at that one. Unfortunately with the Jaguars we haven't gone to the playoffs that many times in my 11-year career. Hopefully that can change here.

Q: Did you tell the Florida paper that the Steelers tried to add a year to your contract?

JS: Yes.

Q: And you turned them down?

JS: Well, first and foremost, Shaun Suisham has been an excellent kicker here. In the past three years he's put up amazing numbers. I'm not trying to come in and take his job. I'm not saying that next year I'm going to be here, because I don't know. You can't guarantee anything. All I'm guaranteeing is this year. I told Shaun that. He's done an amazing job and hopefully he rehabs and can come back, so I didn't want to add on an extra year there. I just wanted to come in, have this year and see what happens after that and do what I can to help this franchise. If that's continuing on after this year here, great. If not, we'll see what happens.

Q: They gave you number eight?

JS: I couldn't exactly take number 10 here. They might get mad at me for that one. A number's just a number. It's not a big deal. I'll enjoy wearing number eight. It's a good number.

Q: How do you compartmentalize being in a camp with two kickers and then being traded?

JS: You've got to be able to put things to the side and focus on what you can control, because I can't control anything around me other than what I'm thinking. You've got to be able to learn to tell yourself things and talk to yourself instead of listen to yourself. Obviously this is a big whirlwind and a big change in my life, but it's still just football, still just kicking a ball.

Q: Are there shrines to Terry Bradshaw down at Tech?

JS: Absolutely. He donated his four Super Bowl rings to our Hall of Fame area, so they're in a big display there. He's the best football player -- oh, second best besides me -- in the history of Louisiana Tech (chuckles). No, obviously he's a big person there.

Q: With this offense, do you look at this as an opportunity to lead the league and become a Pro Bowler and all that kind of stuff?

JS: Yeah. I don't think about Pro Bowl anymore. Sometimes that can be a little bit of a different animal in terms of the voting, but I'm excited about the chance to have a lot more field goal opportunities. My chances in Jacksvonville the last few years have been very slim, because we would have to go for it quite a bit in the second half because we were down a lot in those games. So I'm looking forward to having a lot of meaningful field goals.


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