PITTSBURGH, Pa. (CBS) — It’s been an interesting ride for Vaughn Charlton the last couple of years on the football field.

After starting at quarterback for Temple as a junior in 2009, Charlton was sat down by the Owls’ coaches prior to his senior year.

“(Then Temple head) coach (Al) Golden was down at Virginia when (Steelers’ tight end) Heath Miller was down there and he saw some similarities in myself and Heath and kind of gave me this opportunity to play tight end my senior year in college, and also long snap, and I just kind of took it and ran with it,” Charlton recalls.

After playing all twelve games at tight end for the Owls as a senior in 2010, Charlton caught the eye of pro scouts and was signed as a rookie free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Now’s he’s hoping the position switch can land him in the NFL, and he’ll use Thursday’s exhibition game against the Eagles to try to open some eyes.

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Vaughn Charlton in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

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The Avon Grove (Chester County) High School product talks about the biggest adjustment he has had to make going from college to pro:

(Vaughn Charlton.)

“I’d say the playbook.  This playbook at the professional level is a different level, I guess you could say.”

And Charlton says it has taken a lot of work to become effective at his new position.

“The tight end can actually be one of the hardest positions on the field after playing quarterback also.  You have to know the offense like a quarterback, you have to know the protections, the routes,” he says.   “And then not only are you running routes like a receiver, so it takes a toll on your legs, but you’re in the trenches with the offensive line and it takes a toll on your body also.”

Something to keep an eye on is Charlton’s long snapping — that could be a niche that gives him the benefit of the doubt with regard to any roster decision.  And he is well aware what an important skill that could prove to be.

“Yeah, definitely, I’ve got the technique down.  It’s just being consistent and having complete control over the snap.”

So does Charlton ever miss lining up under center?

“Sometimes, yes.  Sometimes when my body hurts I’ll miss quarterback.  But I’m really loving tight end, and I have a great opportunity here.”

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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