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Steelers sign Valley grad Toney Clemons

| Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 6:12 p.m.
Valley High School and University of Colorado graduate Tony Clemons visits Valley Memorial Stadium in New Kensington as he prepares for the NFL draft in April. Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch

Signed and sealed, Toney Clemons' next goal is to deliver.

The Valley High School product and seventh-round draft pick signed a four-year contract with the Steelers on Tuesday, less than three months shy of the start of training camp.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the wide receiver was all smiles as he continues down the path to a pro career.

“I have dreamt about this day since I was little and told my mom I wanted to be a pro football player when she asked what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Clemons said. “The next big step for me is going to work every day from here on out and proving that I'm worth the pick and the investment that was made in me.”

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Clemons was the 231st player taken in the NFL Draft. He is the third rookie signed by the Steelers

He played two years at Michigan before transferring to Colorado, where he showed flashes of next-level potential and drew further attention with a stellar Pro Day in front of scouts.

Putting pen to paper is an important step, but Clemons knows it doesn't guarantee anything.

“There's still a huge chip on my shoulder because there is so much I have to prove,” Clemons said. “And I plan on doing everything in my ability to put myself in a position to prove I'm worth the opportunity I was given. Physical shape first, mental shape second.”

Clemons will wear No. 11 for the Steelers and compete for one of two roster spots, unless the team decides to go with five receivers, which would leave only one available spot.

With the release of Hines Ward, the Steelers are thin at receiver. Assuming Mike Wallace re-signs, they'll be down to Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery on the roster.

Clemons' focus now is preparing for camp, and he promises he'll remain loyal to his long-term goals.

“No distractions, no extracurriculars,” Clemons said. “Singular focus has gotten me to this point, and that same singular focus will take me to where I've always dreamed of going.”

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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