Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin like many other undrafted free agents throughout the NFL spent the final day of August hoping it wouldn't be the final day of his pro football career. Garvin a rookie out of West Virginia passed the time in his room at the Omni William Penn by talking on the phone with friends and family who were anxious to find out if he made the final roster. "You don't even want the phone to ring" Garvin said. Eventually his phone did ring and it was the call all NFL players dread. Garvin had been cut. For many aspiring NFL players the story ends there. But for Garvin it was only the beginning of a whirlwind three days that saw him go from unemployed to the Steelers practice squad and then onto the 53-man roster Tuesday afternoon. Garvin was the final addition to the roster and was the only undrafted rookie to make it. But Garvin is surrounded by teammates who endured similar adventures to make it to the NFL. Garvin is one of 16 undrafted free agents on the 53-man roster. Five -- Isaac Redman Will Johnson Ramon Foster Ryan Clark and Steve McLendon -- not only bucked the odds to make the NFL but are starters. Clark made the Pro Bowl in 2011 and has flourished in the league for years. "I was a foolish kid who thought he was going to make the team" said Clark who enters his 12th season in the NFL and his eighth with the Steelers. "My mother said 'Go get a job.' And I said 'Of course mom.' I didn't know any better. I didn't know the politics or the business of this league or how hard it was for a free agent to make the team." After a while Clark learned how difficult it is to stick in the NFL as an undrafted player. He was a member of the Giants' active roster in 2002 for the first six games but spent the rest of the season on the practice squad. He earned his way back onto the roster the next season but he never lost sight of the journey many drafted players don't have to endure. "I talk to those guys and try to tell them things they can focus on to show them that they belong here" Clark said of mentoring undrafted players who show up in Steelers training camp every year. "When they do make it I tell them they have to keep playing well and have to do certain things because it's almost like a stigma that you never let go. Forever I will be an undrafted free agent.
Undrafted rookies keep underdog mindset with Steelers
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Sep 7