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09-09-2007, 07:01 AM
Q&A with Steelers DE Eason
By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, September 9, 2007

Nick Eason will see the Steelers-Browns rivalry from a decidedly different side today when the two teams meet in Cleveland. Eason, a defensive end, played the previous three seasons for the Browns before signing with the Steelers last April.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pounder goes from a team that is again expected to finish last in the AFC North to one that is a year removed from winning the Super Bowl. Then again, Eason's probably been called a lot of things during his life, but dummy is not one of them. He earned a degree in sociology from Clemson in three years and is currently working toward a master's degree.

Eason recently talked about moving from one rival team to another and how he pursued academic excellence better as well as he did quarterbacks when he was at Clemson.

Q: Does it go without saying this game will be a little more special for you since it's the first time you're returning to Cleveland?

"Of course. To get a 'W' would be more special for me. Obviously, they didn't think I belonged there, otherwise I would still be there. That's the way I look at it, so you kind of take it personal. Both teams will be up for this game, and I'm just looking forward to being a part of it."

Q: What's the best thing about being in Pittsburgh?

A: "I feel at home. You come from a rival team and you kind of don't know what to expect from your teammates. I've probably exchanged words with these guys when I was wearing the orange helmet, but now I'm in black and gold and there are a lot of quality guys here. I'm glad to be here and glad to be a part of the Steeler Nation."

Q: With whom did you exchange words?

A: "Of course, linebackers are known for that here and defensive backs. I got into a little jabbering with (Ryan) Clark and (Ike) Taylor after the game when it was a pretty close game (in Cleveland last season). It's all in the past. I'm just glad to be a part of this team right now."

Q: How did you graduate from Clemson in three years, especially given how time-consuming football is?

A: "My parents are both educators and, quite interestingly, my mom really didn't believe I was graduating so soon. I told her 'Well, I've got to order my cap and gown' and she told me 'You just got there a couple of years ago.' It was kind of amazing to her because sometimes you can take courses in high school to get college credit but I didn't do that and to be able to (graduate in three years) was just a great accomplishment. At the time, I was the first Clemson football player in school history to do that."

Q: Did your mom believe you enough to show up for the graduation ceremony?

A: "She showed up. It was an August ceremony and so the family came up and I had practice that evening because we were still in training camp. From there on out, I was announced (at Clemson games) as a graduate student. It's an honor for me."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_526463.html