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Valley grad Clemons ready for anything with Steelers

| Monday, April 30, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
ZUMApress.com
Newly-drafted wide receiver Toney Clemons hopes to find a role with the Steelers. Credit Image: © Andrew Fielding/Southcreek Global/ZUMApress.com

He could become Ben Roethlisberger's newest possession receiver, a rookie who gets the Terrible Towels twirling.

He even comes equipped with a contagious, Hines Ward-like smile.

He could wind up a deep target, much like he was in the latter part of his short career at Colorado.

Or maybe he'll become what Limas Sweed could never accomplish: a promising pass-catcher who not only looks the part but plays it with little fault.

But that's all speculation and a long way off for receiver Toney Clemons, who was drafted by the Steelers on Saturday.

The Valley graduate's next goal is to sign a contract, get to know his teammates and coaches and begin validating his stock.

“I am set to go to rookie camp. Right now, I'm not worried about anything but that,” said Clemons, a seventh-round selection. “We've talked about me getting to play some special teams. I would almost expect to play there — as gunner, jammer, a return guy, whatever.

“I could come off the edge and block. I will do whatever they want.”

Steelers wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery said the team was impressed with Clemons' personality.

“For him to be successful with those guys that are in the (locker) room now, they are going to challenge each other,” he said. “Sometimes I don't even have to say a word because the challenge is there. I will stir and create competition when I need to. I look forward to seeing him just because of his confidence standpoint.”

Clemons had three 100-plus-yard receiving performances in his final four games at Colorado, and he was not afraid to go over the middle.

“In those last games, there was something that stood out to me, and it's something I put a high-grading value on,” Montgomery said. “He won a tremendous amount of contested battles. That speaks to the trust the coaching staff at the University of Colorado had in Toney.”

Clemons said he's been a Steelers fan all his life.

“So has my whole family,” he said. “Around here, if you're not fond of the Steelers, than you had better at least support them when they're not playing your favorite team.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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