Tyler Boyd is about to get his first real taste of Bengals vs Steelers action, though he's already seen it up close.
Boyd, who hails from Clairton, Pennsylvania and played college football at Pitt, is very familiar with his hometown Steelers' rivalry with the Bengals. It's been boiling for several years to the point it's one of the NFL's best rivalries and must-watch TV.
"This is one the great rivalries that comes along," Boyd told Bengals.com. "I want to do a great job of letting my name heard and felt."
But Boyd has typically been on the side of the Steelers for most of his life, which is understandable. He's been within shouting distance of the Steelers for most of his life, not to mention playing at Heinz Field for the Panthers.
"Of all the games that have been played I've been around campus, the only one I ever heard about consistently is the Bengals games. Bengals-Steelers," Boyd said. "Everybody around there knows when the Bengals are coming to town, so it's just being able to be a part of that rivalry means a lot to me and know that I'm going out there playing in a real tough matchup."
In fact, Boyd was mentored by Steelers All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, whom Boyd calls "A.B."
"He's real chill. He's all about work regardless of where he is now," Boyd said. "He was working before he was that guy people didn't think he was going to be."
Occasionally, Boyd got to watch the Steelers practice to learn from Brown and All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell. Boyd enjoyed watching those two stars and learning what they did to become great.
"A.B. and Le'Veon (Bell) would run sprints after practice so they'd have the endurance when it gets hard in games during the last two minutes," Boyd said. "These guys put in extra work. You just can't go out and get by and not do a little extra to get ahead of your opponent. If you're not doing anything, just get in the meeting room and watch a guy's technique and watch how they play a certain route."
Back in May after the Bengals spent a second-round draft pick on Boyd, he admitted he was once a Steelers fan. However, Boyd is ready to put that aside and give his hometown team all they can handle when his Bengals face the "Stillers" as people from Pennsylvania call them.
"I've got a lot of respect for the Stillers," Boyd said. "Even though I have so much respect for them, I'm still going to try and punch them in the mouth. Make sure I compete because I don't want a guy to punch me in the mouth. Whatever I have to do to win."
As you can imagine, Boyd is fully aware of just how much these two teams hate each other, and he's ready to stick his nose right into the middle of this brawl.
"Big game always. Hard-nosed football out there grinding. Beating each other up," Boyd said. "But the dominant team is going to be on top, and I hope that the team I'm on is going to be the dominant team, which is the Bengals, so we're going to go out there and do what we have to do to win."
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. He’s about to be a big part of it, hopefully in a way that helps the Bengals win this Sunday.