Tyler Boyd is already fitting right in with the Bengals.
Boyd, who hails from Clairton, Pennsylvania and played college football with the Pittsburgh Panthers, is very familiar with his hometown Steelers' heated rivalry with the Bengals. It's been boiling for several years to the point it's not only the best NFL rivalry, but one of the best in any sport.
But Boyd has typically been on the side of the Steelers for most of his life, and who could blame him? He's practically been within arms distance of the Steelers all his life, not to mention playing at Heinz Field for the Panthers. However, Boyd is ready to put that aside and give his hometown team all they can handle when the Bengals and Steelers face off.
During his introductory press conference, Boyd admitted he was once lost (a Steelers fan) and has now been found (becoming a Bengals fan) since being drafted into the Queen City.
"(Laughs) I definitely rooted for the Steelers," Boyd said. "That’s my hometown team. But at the end of the day, I’m going to sacrifice myself for the team who picked me and who would rather have me. So I’m going to have to completely go at the Steelers and cause them all hell (laughs)."
As you can imagine, Boyd is fully aware of just how much these two teams hate each other, and he's not letting his friends and family in Pittsburgh affect how much hell he's ready to bring the Steelers.
"I’m strongly aware," Boyd said of the rivalry. "Some of my family members and friends are all Steelers fans. But at the end of the day, they’re going to always root for me and cheer for me. So, it is what it is. I’m really blessed for everyone to be on my side. And if they don’t support me and have my jersey on, I know deep down that they care 100 percent about me."
It was possible that Boyd ended up being a Steeler as they were interested in him leading up to the draft, though he didn't think it was a realistic marriage.
"Yeah. I went in and met with the Steelers early on, after the combine," Boyd said. "But I figured that they didn’t need a receiver, because they’ve got A.B. (Antonio Brown) and Martavis (Bryant) — guys that can really help that program. But at the end of the day, like I said, I’m going to do everything I can to beat the Steelers."
With Martavis Bryant suspended for all of 2016, it is possible the Steelers would have looked hard at Boyd in round 2 or 3 had he still been there, but the Bengals made sure that was never an option. In fact, Boyd felt good about the Bengals' interest in him leading up to the draft.
"I believe they were at my Pro Day," Boyd said. "And I had a formal interview with them at the combine. I felt a pretty good vibe. A lot of teams needed receivers, and I felt like I was one of them. But it doesn’t matter where I end up. I’m going to give it my all for that organization."
It's good to see Boyd is already embracing his new team and the very rivalry he's been on the opposite end on for most of his life.