Terrell Edmunds already comes with an excellent firsthand perspective on how far he's expected to elevate his football performance this fall. Dude's kind of constructed that way. From the brash, booming voice out on the field to the trademark cutoff golden jersey he sports at most practices -- all the better to flash those abs -- his confidence pretty much spills out.
Which is awesome. As it should be. The Steelers sure didn't invest a first-round pick, then have him starting nearly every snap at strong safety as rookie, in hopes he'd end up being shy.
And yet, something's missing. He knows it, too. In fact, on this Sunday night following the team's annual Family Fest practice at Heinz Field, I'd barely begun my question on that count when he interjected with those four words atop this column.
"Have to. All of us. Gotta get the ball," Edmunds would continue, now with the volume up. "It's there for all of us as a defense. We know what we were. We know what we can be. The same goes for me personally. I've gotta get the ball. I've gotta get my hand on the ball."
The right eyebrow raised slightly.
"And I will. It's happening."
Oh, it's happening, all right, at least in the innocuous setting of training camp drills.
See that Matt Sunday photo atop this file?
It's from the seven shots drill early in this practice session. Josh Dobbs took a shotgun snap near the goal line, waited for Vance McDonald to burst forward, then hard right ... only to have his bullet swatted away by a soaring Edmunds. Who'd also, by the way, broken with the big bull every stride of the way, including physically.
Judging from the vocal reactions of the nearly 10,000 on hand, it might have been the highlight of the evening. But if it was that for Edmunds, he wasn't about to flash that much.
"Man, Vance is a big-time guy, and we're lucky we get to compete every day," Edmunds told me. "I made a play there, but I don't want to say too much about it. We're a team, and we ride together."