Undrafted lineman Embernate hopes he can stick with Steelers
When San Diego State guard Nik Embernate visited the Steelers last month, he left Pittsburgh hoping he would see the city again soon.
“I love this place,” Embernate said. “I was only here for less than 24 hours, but it was awesome.”
Just as Pittsburgh made an impression on Embernate, he apparently made one on the Steelers — one he hopes will help keep him around for more than a little while this time.
Despite being generally regarded as a likely fifth-to-seventh-round pick, Embernate was not selected during the April 25-27 NFL Draft. The Steelers, who had brought him in for a personal visit several weeks before, quickly signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent.
With the Steelers needing backup help along the offensive line, there are indicators the 6-foot-4, 305-pound Embernate isn't just one of those bodies who is brought in to supply depth at training camp.
He could be around in September.
Embernate is a physical, competitive and aggressive player who gained the nickname of “Embernasty” after engaging a Wyoming defensive lineman in a 2009 fight. He is an excellent run blocker — the Aztecs ran for more than 2,000 yards in 2010 and 2011 — and the Steelers badly want to upgrade their running game.
“Going back to college, the way I played hard, physical, tough — that's what the Steel City is all about,” Embernate said. “That's what I kind of feel myself as: a blue-collar worker. I've got my lunch pail going to work every day, just trying to get better and help out no matter what way I can.”
For his aggressiveness, which he considers to be an asset, Embernate is a disciplined player. His father and step mother were Los Angeles County police officers, and his two grandfathers also were policemen, one in San Diego and the other in Hawaii.
Being slighted in the draft when some scouting services listed as one of the top 15 guards is a motivating factor for him. He played through injuries the last two seasons — a torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2011 and a high ankle sprain last season — one reason why the Steelers checked him out in advance.
“I can't really say I was surprised. I was disappointed,” Embernate said of going undrafted. “You always want the best for yourself, but it's just another way for me to compete and kind of prove people wrong.”
He first did that when he successfully shifted from baseball to football in 10th grade. Later, only two schools, Nevada and San Diego State, offered him a scholarship.
Embernate started to believe he might be able to play in the NFL when, two seasons ago, multiple Michigan defensive linemen complimented him following a physical game and told him they thought he could play at higher level.
He's at one now. And he wants to stay around for more than just spring practices and a summer training camp.
“It's an awesome team to be on,” Embernate said. “I love it here from a football standpoint, a city standpoint.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
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.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Timmons feels pressure to transform Steelers back into contender
- Despite fulfilling promise to mother, Steelers’ Tomlin not yet satisfied
- Versatile linebacker Moats getting up to speed with Steelers
- Pounceys vow to defend themselves against nightclub allegations
- Steelers defensive back Thomas isn’t conceding starting position yet
- In open AFC North, it’s anyone’s game
- Steelers’ Taylor ‘hurt’ by pay cut