Penn State alum Malik Golden happy to be back in 2nd camp with Steelers
For Malik Golden, last fall and early winter was unlike any he can remember in his life.
“It was the longest I have ever been away from football,” the safety said from Pittsburgh Steelers training camp. “I learned a lot about myself.”
A Penn State alum, Golden fit in well at Saint Vincent well last season considering he was a rookie and he was brought in on the third day of camp . But any chance of sticking with the Steelers vanished when he suffered a groin injury during the preseason finale at Carolina.
So, Golden had to sit. But if any doubt crept into his head that his football career was over, the Steelers showed they’d been encouraged by what Golden showed him over six weeks last summer when they called him less than a week after their season ended with a playoff loss to Jacksonville. Golden signed a reserve/future contract Jan. 19 , and has spent the past seven months continuously with the organization.
“I just love playing football; it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Golden said, “and now that I am here my dream is right in front of me.
“I’m happy to go out there every day and go at it.”
Golden has a familiar face as his coach – Tom Bradley is in his first season leading the Steelers’ defensive backs. Bradley recruited Golden to Penn State from Hartford, Conn. – Golden said he was the final player who ever committed to the Nittany Lions while Joe Paterno was coach.
Over his five seasons in State College, Golden gradually moved up the depth chart until he started all 13 games for the Big Ten champions in 2016.
This summer even though via the depth chart he is part of the third-team defense, Golden has gotten several higher-profile reps because of the injuries many safeties have had. And with the Steelers clearly placing more emphasis on using safeties this season, it’s not out of the realm of possibility Golden carves out a role.
“I am just so much more comfortable this year than last year,” Golden said. “I didn’t know what to expect then, and now coming in I knew what to expect, knew the grind, knew what to do, knew what to be prepared for. So I am just ready for anything now.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.