Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lemon Trying to Squeeze out Spot on Roster

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lemon Trying to Squeeze out Spot on Roster

Article excerpt

Most of the players who took part in Steelers rookie minicamp over the weekend were in college last fall. A few others were on NFL practice squads last season and were allowed to participate because they didn't play in an NFL game.

Then there was Shawn Lemon, the oldest prospect at the camp who is playing for his eighth pro franchise.

Lemon, 26, is hardly a rookie, but the well-traveled outside linebacker was allowed to participate because he is with an NFL team for the first time in his career.

Lemon has played in just about every pro football league in North America since graduating from Akron in 2011. Undrafted and unsigned by an NFL team out of college, he spent the past three seasons bouncing around the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League and the Indoor Football League.

Lemon originally signed with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the summer of 2011, but he was cut three days after signing his first pro contract.

A few weeks later, he signed with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders and made his CFL debut against Winnipeg, but his stint in Saskatchewan only lasted six weeks before the Rough Riders released him in September.

The following spring Lemon signed with San Jose of the Arena Football League. One month later, he was traded to Orlando, where he played for three weeks before being released. He finished the 2012 season with Sioux Falls in the Indoor Football League.

Lemon played again in the CFL after his stint in the Indoor League in 2012, this time with the Edmonton Eskimos.

After one season in Edmonton, he was cut and signed with Calgary, where his career took off, almost without warning, the past two seasons.

After playing in only three games in 2013, Lemon had a career year in 2014, recording 13 sacks and tying a CFL record with eight forced fumbles. The Steelers, a team in search of pass rushers and turnovers, signed him in February.

"Sometimes, all guys need is an opportunity to be in the right place at the right time," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Lemon, who is 6 feet 2 and weighs 250 pounds, is hoping he found the right place with the Steelers. …

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