At 6 feet 9, 274 pounds, Christian Scotland-Williamson looks like a football player. Now, he actually feels like one.
As part of the NFL's International Pathway Program, Scotland-Williamson joined the Steelers last year for rookie minicamp and stuck with the team throughout the season on the practice squad. Thing is, he really didn't know what he was doing for a large portion of the season. Plucked from the English rugby union, where he played for the Worcester Warriors, Scotland-Williamson spent a little over two months learning American football at the IMG Academy in Florida last spring.
Then, it was straight to rookie minicamp with the Steelers, where he was lining up with young men who had been playing the sport 10 years or more -- not the 10 or so weeks Scotland-Williamson had under his belt.
"Ten weeks of training, which was literally a crash course in 101 football," Scotland-Williamson told me this week as the Steelers wrapped up minicamp. "I got here and you realized that 101 football was really 101 football. Now, looking back, it’s amazing how much I’ve learned in a year. But also, I was happy with what I was able to do last year given that limited knowledge."
What he learned last year was that he had a lot to learn about playing in the NFL.