Snapshot: Patrick Bailey

As we do every year at this time, presents its Snapshot series of features on the Steelers' rookies. Today we're featuring LB Patrick Bailey.

Patrick Bailey's "Aah shucks" kind of attitude belies the impressive brain that lurks behind his eyes.

The 6-3, 235-pound native of Elmendorf, Texas, was not only a four-year letterwinner at Duke University, he also holds a degree in electrical and computer engineering from what is one of the nation's most prestigious colleges.

How did Bailey, who played in 36 career games, making 26 starts, balance football and a very demanding class load?

"I really don't know, it was tough. I always put my full effort into everything I do, that's kind of all I did," said Bailey, who finished his career with 191 tackles, 24.5 of which were for a loss, 8.5 sacks and one interception.

"Some nights I was up late doing homework, but I just got it done. Summer school definitely helped. I was up there every summer taking care of some classes and that made the fall semester easier."

With that kind of resume learning the complicated defensive playbook of the Pittsburgh Steelers – who signed Bailey as an undrafted rookie free agent – should be a snap.

There's also the added plus of Bailey having played in a 3-4 before as well. Though he lined up as a defensive end in an injury-shortened senior season, the Blue Devils played the 3-4 in Bailey's junior campaign.

"I dropped into coverage. We did zone blitzes. I scraped off the edge," said Bailey. "I even covered wide receivers. We called that a match zone. It's a little bit different here."

Despite being an undersized defensive end his senior season, Bailey was off to a hot start and was among the ACC's sack leaders with 4.5 and tackles for a loss with 7.0 when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in October in a game against Wake Forest.

Bailey said the knee is fine now and that the injury made him realize just how much he loved football.

"I'm putting all my effort into football. That's the first thing I want to do," Bailey said. "If that doesn't work out, I've got a post-graduate scholarship from the ACC that I can go back to Duke and finish off my graduate school in computer management, which is something I liked. But right now, everything is football."

What the heck. The Steelers might even keep him around not only to play linebacker, but to be a guy capable of fixing the in-helmet communication devices defenders are permitted to use this season.

But his analytical mind serves him well in football, too.

"I've always been strong in math, so I can calculate angles," he said. "There's leverage and physics and momentum, all that stuff kind of comes into play. With football, I just kind of go out and play, and that's what makes it fun."

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.

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