Transcript: Alonzo Jackson

<b>PITTSBURGH --</b> The instincts of this sportswriter were backed up by a member of the coaching staff the other day: Alonzo Jackson has improved by leaps and bounds and has become a much more active outside linebacker. Prior to Tuesday's practice, Jackson dressed the part. The Steelers' second-year pass-rusher was dressed in all black with bright gold tennis shoes.

ALONZO JACKSON

Do you know who you look like in those gold shoes?
Who's that?

L.C. Greenwood. Ever hear of him?
I heard of the name, but …

He was the top pass-rusher during the Steelers' dynasty, and he wore gold shoes in defiance of the league. He was fined every game but he wore them and they became his signature. 
Oh, yeah? Well, I won't wear them in the game and get fined but I'll wear them to work out.

He was on the left side. You're on the right side, aren't you?
Either or.

How are you feeling?
Great. Great. Real good.

I'm sure you've been asked the same friggin' questions for the last month. Do you mind?
I don't mind.

What held you back and what kind of barriers are you breaking down now?
I'm breaking down a bunch of them - a bunch of them. I'm feeling more comfortable out there each and every day. Each and every snap I get I become more familiar with the defense and understand where I fit on it.

Was last year humbling?
I was already humble, but last year was a sickening experience, just watching and learning. But I think Coach Cowher had the best plan going and now it's working out in my benefit. In trying to use hindsight on it, now I think it's working out in my benefit and I'll really be able to be fluent in what I'm doing out there.

Wouldn't it also have been to your benefit to play a little bit last year?
I think that fueled my hunger. I think it did.

Did that hunger help you in workouts?
I left here and started working out in Florida.

How many days after you got back?
As soon as I got to Florida. Seriously.

Are you bigger, leaner, stronger?
The beginning of last year I lost a lot of weight because I was sick for two weeks before mini-camp and it never really came back. I started working out and picked up a couple pounds of muscle and I'm finding myself more explosive this year. I'm planning on really coming off the ball a lot.

How will you get the opportunity to show that?
I've got to show what I can do right here in this camp here. I've got to show coach Butler, coach LeBeau and the head man what I can do.

How are you doing?
I think I'm doing pretty good. It's kind of hard to tell without pads on, until you really start head-busting somebody, so once we get on pads we're going to add another element and we're really going to see where everybody is. The starters aren't decided yet, so we'll see where I stand.

Did you know the guy you beat last year in preseason for two sacks, Torrin Tucker, eventually played for them during the season?
I didn't know that.

Does that make you feel better?
Yeah, it does. But still coach felt like I wasn't ready. I'm going to make him feel different this year.

Was your last play the kickoff return by Dante Hall?
No. I played after that.

Did that lead to your benching and perhaps hard feelings from Cowher?
Not at all. I don't know why people are saying that. That's B.S. Not at all.

So the plan is to force the issue in preseason?
No. The plan this year is to make my presence felt in mini-camp. Then carry that on to training camp, then into preseason and then show the world.

Show them you're the next L.C. Greenwood?
Those are big shoes, but I want to show them that I'm ready to play.

Big shoes, but you've got the right color.
Alright man. Take it easy.

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