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A rookie on the rise

PITTSBURGH -- Here is a trivia question that might trick up the even the most ardent Pittsburgh Steelers fan: name the rookie who has played in every game this season.

If you guessed the safety-turned-linebacker who first had to make it through a tryout just for the right to try out for the Steelers you are correct. Your prize? The amount of popcorn that a teammate or teammates used to fill Terence Garvin's car with it earlier this season, their good-natured way of making the undrafted free agent one of them.

"They got me pretty good," Garvin said with a laugh. "Welcome to the team."

It would be harder to find a more unlikely player on the Steelers given the path Garvin has taken to contributing regularly on special teams and also working his way into the team's nickel package.

The former West Virginia star went undrafted last April, and only signed with the Steelers after they gave him a tryout in early May. Not only did Garvin have to overcome the long odds of making the 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie, but he also had to do so while adjusting to a new position.

Garvin played safety at West Virginia but the Steelers moved him to inside linebacker, transforming him from one of the bigger players at his position to one of the smaller ones.

Garvin impressed the coaches enough to make the team, and he has suited up for every game this season.

No other Steelers rookie can make that claim, and lately Garvin has shown he can do more than contribute on special teams. He saw his most extensive action of the season last Sunday night against the Bengals, replacing fellow rookie Vince Williams in the Steelers' nickel defense.

He finished with a tackle, a special-teams tackle and a devastating block on Antonio Brown's 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.

"I've just been trying to work hard and make plays every day in practice and show the coaches what I can do," Garvin said. "I've still got to get a lot better every day."

He has adjusted to his new position by adding weight as the 6-foot-3 Garvin said he has gone from 221 pounds to about 235 pounds. He has also proven to be a quick learner, given the trust the coaches have to have in him since he is still new to playing linebacker.

"I feel like I'm learning something every day," Garvin said. "It's exciting to play a new position and try to progress."

Garvin apparently isn't the only one who is pleased with the progress he has made this season.

"The coaches like him. They really like him," rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. "I'm excited for him."