New Steelers OLB Travis Feeney: ‘I Think My Heart Outweighs My Injuries’

Immediately after the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Travis Feeney in the sixth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, several people, including myself, wondered if he will ultimately be asked to put on some weight being as the team views him as an outside linebacker in their defensive system.

Feeney, who registered 33 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks during his college career at Washington, weighed 230-pounds at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine and because of that, Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter was asked Saturday evening what he envisions the young linebacker’s weight being in Pittsburgh.

“I don’t know what his walking around weight is,” said Porter. “I know what I like to play with, but at the same time, you have different players play at different weights. He’ll play at the weight suggested to him from the coaching staff and try to meet what makes him play at his best. I don’t want a guy that feels like he has to come in and pick up so much weight to play effectively. That’s not always the case. The way the game is spread out, speed is everything. I don’t want to do anything to hurt his wheels. I want him to be ready to play the way he knows how to play and the way he played at the University of Washington. If he can make that transition and give us the same type of intensity that he played with, he’ll be just fine with his weight.”

During a Monday interview on 710 ESPN Radio, Feeney was asked how much he weighs currently and he admitted he weighs less than he did in Indianapolis.

“I have to get back to 230, I’m about 225 right now,” Feeney said.

Feeney also admitted during the interview that he fully expected to be drafted on day-two but that he understands why he may have slipped to the sixth round.

“Yeah, I think a lot of it is everybody looked at my shoulders and was like, “Is he durable? Will he make it through?’ But it is what is, the injuries are injuries and I knew that was going to mark me off, but still, I never missed game,” Feeney said. “I mean I missed one game in my whole career and I still played through everything and I think my heart outweighs my injuries.”

It’s funny that Feeney should mention his heart as prior to the draft, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert admitted that the organization is looking for players with characteristics that can’t be seen or measured when watching their tape.

“When we’ve missed on picks, it’s usually not a physical talent,” said Colbert last week. “We talk about hearts and smarts all the time and those have been the areas. If we trace ourselves back to where we’ve made mistakes, it’s been in those two areas. And they’re the two hardest areas to evaluate, because I can’t put a clock to it.”

As far as Feeney’s past shoulder injuries go that required him to undergo four different surgeries during his time at Washington, he said Monday he no longer believes they will hinder him moving forward. Additionally, he said he’s now been fully cleared to resume practicing after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia after he competed at the combine.

“Physically I’m good,” said Feeney. “Physically I’m cleared from my hernia surgery and ready to go. I’ve been running 90 to 100 percent a little bit. Ran 100 percent one time recently so that’s been really good. I felt pretty smooth and my groins feel good. My shoulder feels fine. No issues and I’ve just been rehabbing and getting ready to work.”

Feeney also knows that he comes to Pittsburgh needing to improve certain aspects of his game as well.

“I need to work on defeating the block before trying to make a play,” he said.

Being as Feeney graduated last in June of 2015 he won’t have to miss any of the team’s OTA practices even though some other draft picks out of Washington will because of the school utilizing the quarter system. It also sounds like he’ll be healthy enough to participate in the Steelers rookie minicamp that will take place in Pittsburgh this coming weekend and said that he looks forward to getting into town and learning the defensive playbook as soon as he can.

“It’s crazy to know that this opportunity is right here and the only man who can stop me is myself,” Feeney said.

  • Jacob

    Hearts, smarts and physical ability. Check, check, check… (so far).

  • Hypo Cycloid

    Just a couple hearts and smarts that burnt us…

    Hearts: Mendenhall, Jemaine Stephens, DRI

    Smarts: Shark, Cortez, Martavis Bryant, Alonzo Jackson, Santonio,

  • Brian Miller

    Good article, and believe me Mr. Feeney, all of Steeler nation is rooting for you!!

  • dany

    he graduated last year but still played football?? how does that work?

  • PaeperCup

    Probably took some basket weaving course to maintain his eligibility.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    He is allowed 4 years of football. He could have started in his sophomore year of schooling. Or he could have graduated a year earlier due to credits that he might have earned in highschool(it was the same situation for my roommate last year who played football at Youngstown State). Just had to make sure they took a class to remain eligible to play

  • vasteeler

    Yesterday when I posted that comment about heart, I didn’t know that he said this, it’s good to see it coming from the horse’s mouth, I still maintain that as long as he’s healthy he’ll be one of the bigger steals of this draft class

  • Zach Holzworth

    Really look forward to this kid. He has the upside of Leonard Floyd and what mingo could have been but without the top ten price tag

  • SteelerMike

    I liked the pick, now I like the guy. The fact he had four shoulder surgeries does not sound quite so bad when you hear he only missed one game. It’s crazy, but his measurables and stats are not much different than Leonard Floyd who went 9th overall.

  • AlexTushjr

    I agree!!!

  • renoir

    like him and the Matakevich pick though Travis definitely has the higher upside…

  • H.K. northern cali

    Nobody expect’s this kid to be Greg L part 2! Come in work ur ass off. Make the team. Make some plays fine. Maybe ur going to be a back-up. Fine!

  • H.K. northern cali

    Im calling again right now. 2017 steelers will get a kickass tag team partner for dupree 2017 first rd baby!!!

  • treeher

    Let’s see, is he a linebacker or a safety?

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    One hit away from retirement.

  • steelasfreek1981

    They all are. Glad we got him! I saw him as a Shazier backup and ST stud.

  • steelasfreek1981

    You can add Sweed, Wallace,Adams, Rainy, Taamu to that already long list

  • RickM

    Maybe not retirement, but one hit away from reportedly a 4th torn labrum and 5th shoulder surgery. It’s ironic how all sorts of people who criticize Shazier at every turn for being injury-prone – which I think is a little unfair – support this draft pick as a good one. 5 surgeries in college and four in a LB’s critical shoulder area before he has even played a down of pro football and he’s a good draft pick? That’s just throwing common sense and the odds out the window.

    I will admit that the fact that he only missed one game despite all the surgeries is a compelling counter-argument. But the physicality at a pro level is a whole different ball game and a weakened shoulder(s) for a LB is a major problem.

  • 6 ring circus

    add jason worilds in there somewhere…

  • T3xassteelers

    Sounds like an absolute stud in the making.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    The fact that Braxton Miller tore his labrum for a second time throwing a seven yard pass in practice just has me cringing for this guys outlook. People need to be realistic in their expectations. Late round guys with nothing wrong with them are long shots to even make a team.

  • The Notorious TOM

    Linebacker.

  • joed32

    Wallace played out his contract and was productive.

  • RickM

    I agree. I want to give every college player the benefit of the doubt, in every draft round. But sometimes the warning flags are just so overwhelming and in this case they are.

    The possibly lucky thing for Braxton is that the pressure put on his shoulder by throwing will now be a thing of the past as a receiver. That’s just not the same for Feeney; he will have to use his shoulder to tackle continuously. 6th round or not, the thought process to ignore four college shoulder surgeries for an OLB is a strange one.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Sweed was actually a great college player, he had a mental issue when he hit the big stage. He dropped a pass and was never able to recover.

    What happened with him, I would have to say, is almost impossible to know, might happen with a player.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    At least they didn’t trade up for him like they were talking about !.

  • treeher

    Yeah, was a rhetorical question based on his size. If we criticize JJ for needing to bulk up and not being able to carry the weight, what are we to think of Feeney? I understand the game is evolving, but this guy won’t make it out of camp without another shoulder injury.

  • King Black

    We criticized JJ for that because he was never going to be fast so he has to be strong. Feeney is the more then likely the polar opposite of JJ in this case. But hopefully he can get functional strength and maintain his speed.

  • Todd Bush

    Rock was even suppose to walk again. Got 4 rings!