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Old 06-09-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
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Default Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles
June 9, 2012 12:10 am

By Brandon Boyd / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Marquis Maze had a shot.

Maze, then playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS national championship, fielded a punt from LSU's Brad Wing and raced toward the end zone.

One defender missed, then two. With two blockers and two LSU players left, Maze made his move at the LSU 40 -- not toward the end zone, but instead hobbling to the LSU sideline.

The whistle blew as he ran out of bounds. He headed toward the Alabama sideline, limping, limping, then pulling up lame, falling to the turf.

He dragged himself across the field and got back up, limping once more until cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick -- drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals -- ran out to help Maze off the field.

"I have a pride in not laying on the field when I'm hurt," Maze, a Birmingham, Ala., native said. "I was wanting to get off to the side on my own and kind of let the doctor see what's wrong with me once I get to the side.

"Really, it was like, 'It's my last game, I ain't coming out.' That's what was going through my mind at the time."

The prognosis was a pulled hamstring, and it meant the gliding-to-gimpy, 49-yard punt return would be the final play of Maze's college career. Cameras caught Maze crying on the sideline after learning that he would not be able to re-enter the game.

"It was tough. People that seen the game seen the reaction from me on the sideline, so people know I'm a competitor and saw that was a game that I didn't want to come out in," he said, referring to Alabama's 21-0 victory against LSU.

Undrafted and signed as a free agent by the Steelers, Maze has absorbed all he can from the veteran receivers on the team.

"They keep telling me to work hard and, you know, they tell me certain things I can do on certain routes to get open," Maze said. "I really appreciate the things those guys say to me to help me out."

At 5 feet 8, 186 pounds, Maze is the shortest player on the team. He makes up for it with plays that go for long yardage.

"He's a very smart football player. Talented," said Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich. "You can tell he's a playmaker and has always been a playmaker."

And whether it was the punt return in the national championship game, his 80-yard touchdown reception against Arkansas in 2009 or even his touchdown pass against Florida in '10, Maze was the guy who provided Alabama with a frequent spark.

"Big plays. Key plays. That's what I've been known for," Maze said. "Just big plays and key plays in game situations."

Maze will have to come up big in practice and scrimmage situations to make the Steelers. He is competing with Emmanuel Sanders and fellow rookie Chris Rainey to be a returner, and faces a slew of receivers fighting for jobs.

"I'm not focusing on beating nobody out. I'm just focusing on myself and getting myself better," Maze said.

"Really, my goal is just make the team right now. I don't know what my goals or what the plans of the coaches are, but I'm just working."

Then, humility gave way to confidence.

"I'm working my tail off, really, to be a starter. I mean, if I only work to be a fifth guy, then I don't think I'm working or I don't think I have confidence in myself. And I do have a lot of confidence in myself."

"Heart of a lion," he added the next day. "Heart of a lion."

When Maze walked off the field after the final day of organized team activities, there was no hiccup in his step, no limping, no hobbling.

No tears, either. Just passion.
Brandon Boyd: bboyd@post-gazette.com, (412)-263-1724 and Twitter @brandonmboyd,
First Published June 9, 2012 12:00 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz1xInqRnHj
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

I like the kid but I don't really see him making the cut. Anything can happen though.
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Old 06-10-2012, 12:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

Originally Posted by Merchant View Post
I like the kid but I don't really see him making the cut. Anything can happen though.

he's looked good at OTAs so far, at least he's off to a good first impression and start...

Friday, 08 June 2012

Written by Ed Bouchette

Some stuff as we close the books until training camp:

--- There have been a few “phenoms” during these OTAs, players such as rookies Sean Spence, Chris Rainey and Marquis Maze. Let’s remember what these spring practices are, however. There have been such spring hits in the past – Mr. May, I would call them – only to disappear in August. However, that does not take away from what they have done and they may well continue doing it in August and beyond.

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Old 06-10-2012, 04:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

I am hoping he makes the team, can't have enough young players with his speed and playmaking ability.
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Old 06-10-2012, 06:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

I don't see Rainey and Maze making the team. Both are similar players, but Rainey is a little faster and can play in the backfield. I can see Maze making the PS and called up in the case of an injury though.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

I hope he'll make the team or at least make the PS
He could be a difference maker. IMO
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Alabama WR faces maze of obstacles

It will be a heated battle between Maze and Clemons with Clemons having that being drafted advantage along with height and speed. But Clemons already is dropping a few and that is a big no no. Both or either could easily be placed on the practice squad without fear of losing them if they don't really excel in the preseason.

And don't be surprised to see a Juamorris Stewart make the team over them either.
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