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Essex wants to stay and start

Posted Jan 11, 2012

Trai Essex played a lot of positions for the Steelers offensive line this year, but he has no idea what his role will be in 2012.

“We will see what happens with me, Max (Starks) and the other guys that are going into free agency,” said Essex. “We are a tight unit in that offensive line room. The less turnover we can have, the better. But the NFL, it is a business, so we will see.”

Essex played tackle, guard and center for the team, but he would like to shed the role of versatile back-up and be a starter next year.

“I would love to start for the Steelers, but it is the NFL and we will see what happens in the offseason,” said Essex. “I think I put myself out there this year, showed my versatility playing multiple positions, and playing at center really helped me out a lot.”

Essex thinks his future would be at tackle, where Marcus Gilbert and Starks were the starters this year and Willie Colon will be back after a second season on injured reserve.
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“We have a Pro Bowl center, so that is obviously locked down,” said Essex. “The other four positions are pretty much open game, I think. If I am here I am going to compete for a starting position because I feel like I am capable of doing that.”

One thing Essex did this year is prove how committed he is to playing. After not being signed at the start of training camp because he was out of shape, he worked to shed the pounds and plans on staying in shape.

“It was a blessing actually not getting signed back right away,” said Essex. “I had to make some lifestyle changes personally. It was for the better. I feel like I turned over a new leaf in my life and in my career and I think this offseason will be a great one for me.”

And one thing that would make it even better for him is staying put.

“This is home,” said Essex. “Even if I go somewhere else, I am still going to be a Steeler at heart. So I am always going to say we.”

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