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hawaiiansteel
03-14-2010, 03:14 PM
Last year’s top rookie Evander “Ziggy” Hood hails from Texas. Recently he was a man about town spreading the gospel of Black and Gold.

Lance Lahnert, Amarillo.com, Modest Hood is focused on getting better


Evander "Ziggy" Hood grew up in Amarillo knowing that when the subject turned to the NFL, this place bleeds the silver and blue of the Dallas Cowboys. But for more than two hours Thursday, Hood turned part of Amarillo into "Steeler Nation." In a store called Gameday near the Westgate Mall, Hood sat in the middle of the jam-packed store at a table next to his dad, Charles, and was engulfed by Pittsburgh fans decked out in black and gold in the heart of Cowboys country. He signed purses, T-shirts and shot glasses with the Steelers logo. He signed football cards, photos, many No. 96 Steelers jerseys with HOOD on the back. And sometimes, as many as six or seven items for one person. The 300-pound plus Hood, a muscular mountain of a man, is a Palo Duro graduate and was the first-round draft pick of Pittsburgh Steelers last year after starring on the defensive line for the Missouri Tigers. Hood said he is taking a break from his workout schedule in Pittsburgh for a week or so to be with family and friends in Amarillo. And his fans. "This is the greatest day of my life," one young girl shouted after taking a picture with Hood. "Can you win us another Super Bowl?' asked a man wearing a leather Steelers jacket. "We'll try," said Hood, breaking into a smile. Hood is a man of few words. He signed and signed free of charge on this day.

Hood is also a man proud to call Amarillo his home, and he has been kind enough to share his road to the NFL with all of us. He talked with Palo Duro football players for an hour this week. He continues to keep his feet on the ground. And this good guy who got more and more playing time as the season progressed, answered a few of my questions, My favorite answer was about his impression of the NFL after a year. "Until your name is ringing like Jerry Rice, and you know you have it made," Hood said. "Until then, I have to keep on working." In his first season, Hood played in all 16 games, made eight tackles, had one sack and defensed two passes. Hood took time out from his autograph schedule to answer a few more questions. What's it mean to see this many fans come out and want your signature? "The Steelers fan base is growing in Amarillo. We didn't have too much to smile about (during the season). To come in here and see all these smiles, I'll take that day. Hopefully, I can bring a smile to them, too." What was your message to the Palo Duro football team? "For me it's about if I can help just one kid get out (to college) - mission accomplished. Not everybody is going to have a chance to play in the NFL. I know that and they know that. It's a business. It's the league. "But what I told them is if you can put your effort in other ways in life and help contribute to society and help others, then you are a success. That's what you have to do. I shared my story and said just because you make the NFL it's not suddenly easy. You have to grind pretty much every day because someone is out there working right now and coming after your job."

How different is the college game from the pro game? "Really, it was all the game speed. All the guys are big and everybody is fast. Until you experience it, there is nothing like it. It's hard to explain. "But you have guys weighing 350 pounds and running just as fast as you are and you are fifty pounds lighter. It's crazy." What did you learn you have to do to succeed in the NFL? "It's all mental. Because everybody is big and fast. If you can outsmart your opponent, you are going to win. You won't win every time, but most of the time. "Last year at this time, I didn't know what team I was going to play for, what technique, what position. Now, I know what I am. I'm a 3-4 defensive end playing four techniques and two-gapping. I can focus now more on my technique and get better. Coming up in our OTA's I won't struggle as much. Now I won't be running around trying to balance the playbook on my shoulders and can become a true technician on the field." What's a Steelers home game like? "The fan base out there is crazy. I don't see any fan base as crazy as that. Maybe some Cowboys fans, but I'm not sure they can even relate. They get Steelers tattoos and it's not just one person. It's a bunch of them. It's crazy. And I like it."

Shawn
03-14-2010, 03:19 PM
How refreshing. A Steeler not intoxicated on their own ego.

LordVile
03-14-2010, 03:44 PM
Awesome article! Let's hope Ziggy stays this level headed and humble thru out. I like his attitude and work ethic. I'm sure he's gunna be making loads more plays next year = )

birtikidis
03-14-2010, 03:49 PM
shawn i think the majority of our players are very humble. you make it sound like we have TO at every position...
I could point out a dozen guys that are extremely humble.
troy, aaron, ike, jimmy hate, bret, miller, mendy, timmons, farrior, woodley, ward, max, etc...

Shawn
03-14-2010, 04:32 PM
shawn i think the majority of our players are very humble. you make it sound like we have TO at every position...
I could point out a dozen guys that are extremely humble.
troy, aaron, ike, jimmy hate, bret, miller, mendy, timmons, farrior, woodley, ward, max, etc...

I was being facetious.

birtikidis
03-14-2010, 04:33 PM
shawn i think the majority of our players are very humble. you make it sound like we have TO at every position...
I could point out a dozen guys that are extremely humble.
troy, aaron, ike, jimmy hate, bret, miller, mendy, timmons, farrior, woodley, ward, max, etc...

I was being facetious.
very good then.

hawaiiansteel
03-14-2010, 04:38 PM
Awesome article! Let's hope Ziggy stays this level headed and humble thru out. I like his attitude and work ethic. I'm sure he's gunna be making loads more plays next year = )



something tells me that Ziggy is genuinely humble and will always stay like that.

and yes, I believe with more playing time Ziggy will make a lot more good plays.

he just needed a year to figure out Saint LeBeau's complicated defensive scheme... :stirpot

Chadman
03-14-2010, 06:12 PM
Ziggy will have a nice career in front of him if he lives by what he says.

Looks like a solid citizen, and a good draft choice from the Steelers.

LordVile
03-14-2010, 11:35 PM
Ziggy will have a nice career in front of him if he lives by what he says.

Looks like a solid citizen, and a good draft choice from the Steelers.

Wow, Chadman you always got the finest STEELERS GALS in your signature, imma find one to compete with yours! Imma have BIG BEN send me some pix of his gals.

RuthlessBurgher
03-14-2010, 11:49 PM
Ziggy will have a nice career in front of him if he lives by what he says.

Looks like a solid citizen, and a good draft choice from the Steelers.

Wow, Chadman you always got the finest STEELERS GALS in your signature, imma find one to compete with yours! Imma have BIG BEN send me some pix of his gals.

Go with this:

http://www.bittenandbound.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ben-and-former-girlfriend-missy.jpg

instead of this:

http://static.thehollywoodgossip.com/images/gallery/andrea-mcnulty-picture_342x342.jpg

hawaiiansteel
03-15-2010, 01:15 AM
Ziggy will have a nice career in front of him if he lives by what he says.

Looks like a solid citizen, and a good draft choice from the Steelers.

Wow, Chadman you always got the finest STEELERS GALS in your signature, imma find one to compete with yours! Imma have BIG BEN send me some pix of his gals.



Ben sent me some of these photos of Natalie Gulbis when he was dating her...


http://www.insidesocal.com/tomhoffarth/NatalieGulbis46.jpghttp://www.bittenandbound.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/natalie-gulbis-2.jpghttp://www.intotherough.co.uk/assets/_files/images/sep_08/itr__1221325607_natalie-gulbis-big1.jpg