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Monday November 12 2018
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Quadree Henderson is optimistic after his rookie preseason campaign with the Steelers.

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NFL preseason games may not be of much interest to many fans, but they are opportunities of a lifetime for football players on the fringe and are trying to earn a spot on an NFL roster. One such player is Quadree Henderson.
“I once heard a quote--The opportunity of a lifetime can only be seized during a lifetime of opportunities,” Henderson said. “You need to know what you want in life then go out and make it happen.”

The receiver/return specialist left Pitt with one year of eligibility remaining in order to follow his dream of playing in the NFL. He did not get drafted but the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to an undrafted free agent contract immediately following the draft, which allowed him to continue playing at Heinz Field.

“I love playing in Heinz Field. This is home for me,” Henderson said. “This is nothing new to me to play here but it is new to play a higher level of football. I’m living my dream.”

Henderson responded by playing a high level of football in the second half of the Steelers’ 39-24 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. He caught two passes for 24 yards including a seven-yard touchdown toward the end of the third quarter that gave the Steelers a 32-10 lead after the conversion. He also fair caught a punt and returned a kickoff 29 yards.

Mason Rudolph threw the pass a little high across the middle of the end zone but Henderson jumped up and pulled it in with one hand as he fell to the ground. Rudolph felt bad after the game for not throwing the ball on target, but credited Henderson for coming down with the pass anyway.
 
“It was a great play. I made it a little too hard for him. I should have put the ball a little lower for him,” Rudolph said. “It was great to see him make a play like that in his home stadium.” 

Henderson surprised himself by coming down with the ball for the touchdown.

“It was a play called that we executed in practice all the time. I found a soft spot in the defense, Mason put the ball up, and I came down with it,” Henderson said. “I don’t know how I jumped that high since I’m not that tall. I thought it was going to sail over my head. I just reached up and grabbed it and came down with the football.”

Henderson realizes his opportunities in the NFL may be short-lived but that does not stop him from giving his all when he has the chance.

“It feels good to be at this level. I’ve dreamed of this opportunity since I was five years old.
I learned at Pitt to take advantage of every opportunity,” Henderson said. “I might be here today and gone tomorrow. A season can end in one play. Time is short.” 

Former Pitt teammates James Conner and Matt Galambos saw Henderson’s performance first-hand Thursday night as they are currently on the Steelers’ roster as well. He credited the two former teammates in always being there for advice when needed.

“James Conner and Matt Galambos are like big brothers to me. They were ahead of me at Pitt,” Henderson said. “When I needed information, I could always go to them.” 

Conner was happy to see Henderson play for the Steelers in preseason.

“It’s pretty cool having a college teammate here,” Conner said. “He made a nice play today. I’m excited for him.”
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