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Ryan Baker signs with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Blountstown’s own Ryan Baker is headed north after signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers. When quarterback Troy Smith was released last Monday, a space opened on the team and the Steelers have decided to give Baker a shot. Ryan tried out, along with New England Patriots linebacker Markell Carter, who was not signed. “I’m excited, thankful, eager to get started – just everything bottled into one emotion about this opportunity,” Ryan tells The County Record. “This is something I told myself early in my life I wanted to be a part of so I’m taking all the necessary steps.” A former star for the Blountstown Tigers, Baker played outside linebacker for Louisiana State University, starting his junior and senior year. His stats included 87 tackles and seven sacks as a junior, then 58 tackles his senior year. Ryan finds himself in the opportunity of a lifetime as an inside linebacker prospect for the Steelers. He was initially signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but didn’t make the roster. His challenge is being slightly smaller (5’11” and 232 lbs.) than the typical NFL linebacker, but his speed is a plus. During the 2012 NFL Combine, he ran the 40 in 4.74. It’s Baker’s time to shine and he is seizing the moment, ready to work harder than ever with his eye on the prize. “You cheat yourself, you’re cheating your life,” says Ryan. “Only God knows what’s in store for us.”

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