In order to help pass the long summer months before the start of training camp (69 days) and the opener against Florida State (97 days), I'm going to do a few blog posts catching up with some of the former Pitt players who graduated this past year and are trying to break into the pro ranks. First off, we'll go with center Ryan Turnley, who was not drafted but signed a free agent deal with the Buffalo Bills.
He said that he started talking with the Bills very early in the process, so once he didn't hear his name called in the draft he knew where he would be heading.
"I talked to my agent about it, we had talked about it for weeks before that and Buffalo was one of the teams we thought would be a good fit," he said.
One of the biggest factors, he said, was the connection with Bills' offensive line coach Pat Morris. Morris worked with Pitt offensive line coach Jim Hueber when both were with the Minnesota Vikings, and told Turnley he would be a good fit in Buffalo.
Turnley got started with the Bills' rookie minicamp earlier this month, and is just now wrapping up OTAs with the entire roster. He said he has split reps at center and guard during his practices so far.
"I feel like I've fit in well, and I feel like a lot of that is because of the veterans," Turnley said. "The veteran offensive linemen have been great helping us out. If we have questions or anything like that, the veterans have been real supportive so it's been nice.
"The toughest part has definitely been the speed adjustment. I'm sure that's the same way for everyone. Once you get used to that, there's other challenges. It's been a fun and tough three weeks."
Turnley has a long way to go before even the preseason starts, so he said he's not even focused on long-term goals like making the roster, just zeroing in on his day-to-day responsibilities.
"My goals right now are pretty simple: just come out here and compete with my teammates and do whatever I can to help the team out," he said. "Just come out here and work as hard as I can."