Ex-Pitt stars Savage, Street getting prepared for NFL's combine
Former Pitt players Devin Street and Tom Savage are ready to move on after their college careers ended in two separate pools of blood.
Both players, their wounds healed, are working out in Phoenix in preparation for the NFL scouting combine, which starts Saturday in Indianapolis. They will be joined by former teammate Aaron Donald; Penn State's Allen Robinson, John Urschel and DaQuan Jones; and West Virginia's Charles Sims and Will Clarke.
Their dream is to play in the NFL — “The thought of it gives me chills,” Savage said — and these preparations are the beginning.
Street, who set a Pitt record with 202 career receptions, missed most of the final three games with an ankle injury and blood clot in his elbow. The elbow injury, suffered early in the Syracuse game Nov. 23, initially was diagnosed as a bruise, but he said doctors later found a hematoma.
In that game, Savage took a vicious hit in the ribs but played through the pain. A week later, he threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Miami. Then, in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl against Bowling Green on Dec. 26, Savage was hit near the same spot and was forced to leave the game with fractured ribs and, as it turned out, a bruised kidney.
At halftime, he said he discovered blood in his urine. That forced him to set aside his courage and let backup quarterback Chad Voytik finish the game.
“When I saw that, I said, ‘All right. You have to pull back.'
“It was better for the program for Chad (a redshirt freshman) to get to play. It gave everyone a confidence boost for next season.”
But it didn't help Savage, who was forced to turn down an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. He also couldn't serve as an alternate for the Senior Bowl.
Instead, he put his workout schedule on hold for two weeks to rest and recuperate. He said he is healed and ready for the combine and a return to Pittsburgh on March 3 for Pitt's pro day.
While working out with former NFL quarterback Travis Brown, he has learned that a strong arm — and he has one — isn't enough.
“A lot of guys in the NFL can throw the ball 70 yards,” Savage said. “The tough thing is doing it with people in your face.”
Working with Brown almost every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., he is trying to improve his footwork.
“I want to quicken up my feet, quicken my game up in general,” he said.
Street's disappointment was deeper than that of Savage because he missed more time.
“It was hard,” he said, “but I couldn't put my head down and throw in the towel.”
Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he spent the last month of the season working with the young Pitt receivers on the field and in the film room.
In Arizona, he said he is working on the short bursts of speed that will make him a more complete pass catcher. He said he has run a 4.46 40, but straight-ahead speed isn't enough.
“The biggest thing,” he said, “is conveying to the scouts that I can run laterally and have the ability to separate and run those quick routes and not just run deep.”
Savage and Street aren't sure where they fit in the May 8-10 draft, and at this point, they don't care. A clearer picture will emerge after the combine.
“We hear good things, and we hear bad things,” Street said, speaking only of his situation. “Actually, we haven't heard too many bad things.”
Savage said he is focusing on his workouts and doesn't listen to draft analysts.
“I tell everyone, ‘Don't tell me anything.' It doesn't matter to me.”
As he prepares for the combine and a long series of job interviews, Street said he is more “eager than anxious.”
“I wouldn't say I'm too nervous, but nerves come with any big moment,” he said.
He said he has prepared since he was 16, when he watched the combine on TV with his mother Ria.
“I said with conviction, ‘I'm going to be there one day.' Street said. “She laughed, but she believed in me. Now that the moment is right around the corner, I'm not going to freeze up.”
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.