Q&A: Sean Mahan

Prior to signing his five-year contract with the Steelers, offensive lineman Sean Mahan met with a group of reporters at the team's practice facility. Here's the transcript:


Are they looking at you as a center?

Obviously Jeff Hartings retired and there's another center on their roster, Chukky Okobi, and they also have the idea of maybe trying Kendall Simmons out at center, too, so they want me to come in and compete for the starting job.

Is it your favorite position?

I don't have a favorite position. I'm looking to other teams as (a) guard and some want me at center. I like them both.

Does Tampa want you as its center of the future?

That's what they say. My agent's been talking with Tampa, Cleveland, Seattle and now, obviously, Pittsburgh. We'll see.

You played left guard against the Steelers last year. Is that when you caught their eye?

To be honest I'm not sure when I opened their eyes. I've obviously known Mike Tomlin for a number of years, him being in Tampa with me. The O-line coach previously had seen me on film back at Notre Dame and Tampa. They want me to come in and play center so they've seen (film) back to 2004 when I played center. Me playing left guard was because of injuries primarily. Tampa wanted me to play center and then we had injuries on the line so I moved out to left guard, right guard because I'm a versatile player.

How much will potential-to-play factor into your decision?

I plan on being a starter so I'm not going to go someplace and not play.

Does that hurt Tampa's chances?

I've been starting, just not at that (center) position because I'm the only guy that could swing both ways and play all three positions inside. I don't view it as being punished while I was starting the whole time.

Has your association with Tomlin played a role in this visit?

I knew Mike pretty well. He was in Tampa with me for a little over two years. He's a great coach. I admire him. I have a lot of respect for him. I'd be here even if he wasn't here, but it's nice knowing he's here.

When do you hope a deal gets done?

I've got no time frame but the sooner the better.

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