Witt All-American Vallery gets call from Steelers

South Solon's Eddie Vallery hopes workout in August leads to practice squad opportunity.

SPRINGFIELD — The lengthy NFL lockout affected many more people than the owners and players fighting over the future of the league. For recent college graduates with dreams of playing pro ball, like Wittenberg All-America defensive lineman Eddie Vallery, the endless off-field drama came at the worst time.

“Football was over last fall, and I was working out through December and January, and here it was April, and I was in the same place I was in January,” Vallery said. “It was tough.”

The frustration ended last week. The lockout ended Monday, and then Wednesday, Phil Kreidler, a scout for the Pittsburgh Steelers, called Vallery to invite him to a workout in Pittsburgh in August. The Steelers will put Vallery through some drills and time him in the 40-yard dash.

The opportunity arose when Vallery, who attended Madison Plains High School and grew up in South Solon, just outside Clark County, met Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in July. LeBeau spoke at a fund-raiser at London Country Club. LeBeau’s brother Bob knew about Vallery and called him in advance to tell him the Hall of Famer, who is from London, would be in town.

Vallery got to talk to Dick LeBeau for a short time gave and him his highlight tape. LeBeau passed the tape on to the Steelers’ personnel department.

“They looked at it, and they said they liked it,” said Vallery, the D3Football.com Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and a two-time All-American. “Unfortunately their roster is full right now, but (Kreidler) said they’ll call me around Aug. 18 and they’ll schedule a time for me to come up and work out. They said until then, I can take offers from anybody else.”

Vallery, who worked out for scouts at Ohio State’s pro day on March, just hoped for any sort of opportunity. Few Division III players get this far. If the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Vallery makes it to the next level, he would probably play linebacker.

“Hopefully I can impress them enough to get my foot in the door and on the practice squad,” he said.

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0351 or djablonski@coxohio.com.

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