Twenty-eight teams called Robert Golden during last weekend’s NFL Draft.
The Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos even went as far as to say they would “for sure” draft the former Arizona defensive back if he was still on the board in the later rounds.
Golden remained available all of the way until the 253rd and final pick, yet none of the 28 teams he talked to pulled the trigger on the 5-foot-11, 202-pound safety from Fresno, Calif.
After three stressful days full of broken promises, Golden remained undrafted.
“I was surprised because all the phone calls I got,” Golden said. “Every football player wants to hear his name called on draft day. It hurt, it definitely hurt.”
But with Golden glued to the television and the Atlanta Falcons on the clock with the 42nd pick in the seventh round, his phone rang.
It was the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The historic franchise had just selected defensive back Terrence Frederick with their last pick in the draft, and they called Golden to see if he wanted to sign on as a free agent and compete with Frederick and the rest of their defensive backs.
For Golden, whose dad is a die-hard Steelers fan, it was a no brainer.
“I said I’d love to be a part of their franchise,” Golden said. “It’s an honor to be able to play for Pittsburg Steelers. It’s a blessing. I just want to go out there and learn everything I can and fly around the field and make some plays.”
Even though Golden received offers from other teams, the chance to play for a winning franchise and learn from defensive back greats like Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor wasn’t worth passing up.
“The organization speaks for itself,” he said. “Guys like Polamalu and Ike Taylor, I can better my game just by being around those guys. What better place to be than the Pittsburgh Steelers?”
Golden will head out to Pittsburgh today and will have his two-year contract signed. He’s planning on living with former Colorado wide receiver and Steelers seventh-round pick Toney Clemons, whom Golden trained with this summer.
Golden will be sporting No. 30 and is expected to play safety or nickel, although he said he would prefer to play corner. But regardless of where the Steelers want him, Golden’s just happy to be in the NFL.
He may not have heard his name announced on national television, but Golden is more or less in the same position as the players drafted in the late rounds.
In the end, the hard-hitting defensive back ended up in a solid situation with good potential mentors and a defensive mindset that fits his style of play.
“It was a pretty stressful time but at the end of the day man it all worked out,” Golden said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity that I have. I’m just going to take this opportunity and run with it.”