Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Nick Herbig has played well in limited action on defense this season, registering nine tackles two sacks and a forced fumble for Pittsburgh. Herbig has played on both defense and on special teams, and he made an appearance on The Arthur Moats Experience, hosted by former Steelers LB Arthur Moats, on Thursday. During the podcast, Moats talked about his welcome to the NFL moment and gave two examples, one that happened in Week One against the San Francisco 49ers and one that just occurred, in Pittsburgh’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
“For a long time, I felt like it was my first play on kickoff return, and I had to man up on the five on the Niners. And I’m running down the field, I turn around, and he’s five yards past me already. I’m like what the heck? I’m like, this ain’t no joke,” Herbig said. “That’s when I realized this is how dudes feed their family, running down on kickoff.”
Herbig had another moment that occurred on defense, in Pittsburgh’s win over Cincinnati. Herbig also had a sack in the game.
“But then this past game, I went in on my first or second play and the tackle hinged back on me. We had a knife blitz on it, he hinged back and he just grabbed me with one arm and threw me like a rag doll. I’m just on the ground, I’m looking up, like holy. Like, this is real. That was some power.”
As you can see, Herbig got easily tossed aside by Orlando Brown Jr., a much bigger man than Herbig. Herbig is small for an EDGE, measuring at 6-2 and 240 pounds. Brown Jr., on the other hand, is a massive man at 6-8 and 345 pounds. It didn’t take much for him to cast Herbig aside and give him another moment that shocked him and let him know that life in the NFL is different than in college.
Herbig’s had a nice adjustment so far from college to the pros, and so far his size hasn’t been a major issue. But like every other NFL player, he’s had his share of moments that shock him and make him realize that the NFL is a business and a completely different beast from any other level of football.
It’s always interesting to hear players tell what moment was the one that introduced them to life in the NFL, and it was cool that Herbig had two he could recount from different facets of the game. As he said, guys make their bread as core special teamers, and that was something he seemed to realize after getting blown by in the 49ers’ loss Week One. For Herbig, hopefully down the line he’ll be the one delivering those welcome to the NFL moments to opponents.