Steelers Q&A with Anthony Madison
Anthony Madison may be the smallest player on the Steelers' roster but the 5-9, 180-pounder has been a big part of the kick-coverage units that have been vastly improved this season. Madison leads the Steelers in both unassisted (10) and total tackles (14) on special teams and the diminutive cornerback has been as valuable as any player in that phase of the game.
Madison started 37 games at Alabama but still went undrafted in 2006, and he signed with the Steelers as a free agent. Madison has been released three times already in his career but his prowess on special teams could help him carve out a lengthy career in the NFL.
Madison, who could see significant playing time today against the San Diego Chargers at defensive back, recently talked to the Tribune-Review about his size -- "If they give me 5-9, I'm going to take it," he said with a laugh -- what makes him a special-teams standout and life after football.
Question:Have you ever told someone you are an NFL player and they don't believe you?
Answer: "People have mistaken me for not being a football player because of my size. I think it's funny only because people expect football players to be 6-3, 250 (pounds). They expect me to be much bigger so when I tell them they say 'How do you do that. How do you play at that size.' I'm like 'It's just God-given ability and sheer will.' "
Q: Sheer will. Does that describe why you have developed into such a successful special-teams player?
A: "It's desire, it's want-to, it's talent, it's combination a lot of things. A guy can have a lot of talent and not work hard and be a bad player. A guy can be a hard worker and not as talented as most and be a great player. If you go out and work hard at something and believe in yourself and commit yourself to whatever it is you're trying to do, whether it's football or whatever it is in life, I believe that you're going to get good results."
Q: Did getting released several times early in your career ever discourage you to the point that you started thinking about doing something else?
A: "I always knew the opportunity would come up. Even when I was out I was still working for a lot of teams so I knew if I didn't get on during the year I would be in somebody's training camp the following year so I didn't lose hope. I'm just blessed and I love what I go and I just go out and play hard."
Q: Have you thought about what you went to do when your playing days are over?
A: "I've always been real big into motivational speaking and just being around the game like a professional scout. That's always something I've had a heart for, just scouting talent and having a chance to give an unknown kid a shot at playing somewhere. When a lot of people get jobs, they don't go to their strengths. For me I'm going to work toward my strengths."
Q: If you had to write a scouting report on yourself what would it say?
A: "I'm not one to speak too much of myself so I'm just going to keep it very humble. I'll just say a guy that's going to work hard and is a team player and is a player that you know is going to go out there and make a play."
Q: How about Hines Ward?
A: "Tough player, great player, clutch player, veteran player and that's it."
Q: How gratifying is it to see your alma mater, which has such a winning tradition, at the top of the polls in college football?
A: "That is their rightful place. Maybe I'm a little biased because I'm an alumnus, but they're playing good ball and hopefully we can continue to do that and play for that national championship."