08/21/08 — Warren right at home with Steelers

View Archive

Warren right at home with Steelers

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 21, 2008 1:35 PM

LATROBE, Pa. -- Greg Warren resides in a working-class city.

The lifestyle certainly suits the Wayne County native.

A long snapper for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Warren enjoyed a hectic offseason and is adjusting once again to the rigors of the NFL preseason.

And he's doing it with a big smile on his face.

"I am so happy to still be a Steeler," Warren said after a recent practice. "I just bought a house here, and I have gotten involved in the community, so I really didn't want to leave."

A native of Dudley, Warren signed a three-year contract extension in March for $2.3 million. That should keep him in the black-and-gold uniform through 2010.

Warren considers it a nice reward for four years of hard work in the blue-collar metropolis. He was on the Super Bowl champion team as a rookie.

"If I had my way I would be in Pittsburgh until I retired," said Warren. "The statistics and the trends in the league don't point to that being very likely, but I would love it if I got to play my whole career here."

One big reason why Warren has fallen in love with the three-rivers area is the knowledgeable and zealous Steeler fan base.

"We have great fans around here," said Warren. "They come out to watch us no matter what is going on. Having between seven and ten thousand people at practice during the week is pretty awesome.

"Even when we go on the road, like to Oakland or Arizona, there are still terrible towels everywhere which is always exciting."

The Steelers are entering the second year with head coach Mike Tomlin at the helm. Warren thinks the transition has benefited the team as far as the player-coach relationship is concerned.

"Coach Tomlin has a completely different style than coach (Bill) Cowher had," said Warren. "He is more of a player-friendly coach.

"A lot has been made of (Tomlin's) age, and I think him being relatively young has helped us because he understands what the players are going through."

That appreciation of the players' effort has made for a more pleasant training camp this summer.

"I am feeling great, as good as I have felt in a long time," said Warren. "I have varied my training this year and added more cardio and more distance running, which I never looked forward to before."

The University of North Carolina graduate hopes the hard work will pay off in terms of on-field success.

"Our goal every year is to win the division and ultimately make the playoffs," said Warren. "And as we get closer to the first regular-season game, that's our goal again this season."

Pittsburgh finished 10-6 last season and earned a berth in the AFC wild-card playoff game. However, the Steelers lost 31-29 to Jacksonville.

Entering the year this year as favorites to repeat, Warren and his teammates know the road to another North Division title will not be easy.

"Cleveland is going to make a real push, and the division as a whole is so strong," said Warren. "With Baltimore and Cincinnati and the talent they have, I feel like it will be one of the best divisions in the NFL."