Anthony Madison was an NFL rookie who beat the odds.
Signing on with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, he was able to earn a spot on the practice squad after the final roster cuts. After just three weeks, he was activated to the 53-man roster for the balance of the season.
“I was hungry and I just wanted to get out there and prove to the coaches that I belonged there and that I had what it took to play ball at this level,” he said during a recent Scout.com interview. “My whole approach was to impress the coaches, make sure they see something in me so they would keep me around. I knew I had to perform and I knew there was a lot of competition. And I had to go out and do my best and pray to God that everything worked out the way I wanted it to.”
While he was working hard to get noticed, Madison paid his dues as a rookie. But overall, the veterans embraced their new, young teammates who were trying to get acclimated to NFL life and the pro game.
“The Steelers have some of the best veterans in the league,” he said. “I don’t know about any of the other guys, but I can tell you I had a lot of help from a lot of guys: Deshea Townsend, Joey Porter, Troy Polamalu, Mike Logan, all of those guys were very helpful.
“They were always lending their hand and asking if you needed anything--just a good group of guys, they really are--but that didn’t make it any easier. If you’re a rookie you still need to pay your dues. If they asked you to go do something, you go do it because you’re the new kid on the block and you have to earn your keep.”
Madison headed into the final cuts concerned about his future in Pittsburgh. He had missed the final two preseason games due to a pulled hamstring, but fortunately he had such a good camp that the Steelers did their best to hold onto him while he recovered.
He went through the awful process that many NFL rookies face—being exposed to the waiver wire after the final cuts, and then still being vulnerable to being plucked off a team’s practice squad by any of the other 31 clubs .
”I had my foot in the door and I felt like I would have made the team had I not gotten hurt, but that’s the way the game works sometimes,” he said. “All I knew is that I wanted to be in Pittsburgh and I was just going to hope that I would stay there.”
Heading into Week 4 of the regular season, Anthony Madison got the word that he’d be activated to the 53-man roster and would see his first NFL action of his career. Scout.com subscribers can listen in to a 6-minute Scout Radio exclusive interview as Anthony shares what it was like to come out of the tunnel for his first NFL game and his hilarious account of his first play as an NFL rookie. And find out his initial impressions of new head coach Mike Tomlin, his take on teammate Troy Polamalu and the loss of Joey Porter to the Dolphins. Just click the link below:
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|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.