PITTSBURGH - What a difference a, uh, uh, a career makes. Yeah, that's Deshea Townsend over there entertaining reporters with his warmth and wit. Why, it seemed like only yesterday he was the quietest kid in the room. No one asked him anything because he never said anything. But here he is today, the leader of the Steelers' secondary, and he took a break from his busy schedule for a brief chat.
What's it like with all these young guys?
I remember me being that young guy. But it's fun. I'm trying to help them all along. We're all close. That's the main thing.
What do you make of this revamping of the secondary?
The one thing I'll say is everybody has a year under their belt that was here last year, so that can only make us better. Then you bring in (Bryant) McFadden, who's really the only new guy. The more he learns, the better we all become. It's fun to see. We have a lot of speed out there. We're still young. It's going to be fun.
Do you feel like an old man? Are you 30 yet?
Almost, but I don't think I'm the old man as far as my playing time.
How did it happen?
That's what I'm saying. It happened so quick. I talk to the people back home and they say, 'Man, you've been in the league eight years.' It went by fast, but it's a lot of fun. The more plays you get, the more reps you get, you want to be on the field and I've been getting the opportunity lately.
Are these young guys pushing each other up to their potential?
Oh, yeah, we're all going to push each other. One thing coach (Bill) Cowher always says is 'What you did last year was last year.' You have to come out and prove yourself again this year, and everybody's fighting for a starting job.
Do they ask you about their assignments?
Most definitely. Actually, they've been asking me that for a couple of years. I think I know the defense pretty well and I try to learn every position. The guys know that, so they all pretty much come to me sometimes.
At least they show interest in learning.
Most definitely. That's always key, ask questions and get better together.
So they're not cocky. Was Ike cocky last year? Is that why he was in the dog house?
I don't know if he was cocky. I just think coach Cowher expected so much from him and he might not have lived up to it.
So has Ike paid his dues?
He's most definitely talented. The mental aspect is a big thing with corners, and coach Cowher has been around a lot of good corners over the years. He's coached and coordinated defenses, and he coached two good corners when he was at Cleveland back in the day, so he knows about corners and most definitely understands the position. He's always in our face like he was a corner.