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Ex-Sioux Boyle signs with Steelers

GRAND FORKS -- Ty Boyle spent last summer living in Pittsburgh, where he worked as an intern for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL.

While living there, he witnessed the passion for sports in the city.

"Pittsburgh is one of the best sports cities in the nation," Boyle said.

On Tuesday, Boyle became a member of the sports franchise that defines the city -- the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The former UND standout signed a free-agent contract with the Steelers. Today, he'll make his way to the Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pa., and Friday he'll experience his first practice with team.

"It's like being a freshman in college again," Boyle said. "You just have to try and go with the flow. They don't give you much direction. You have to kind of learn on the fly."

Boyle had been working out in Pittsburgh, which made it easier for the former Sioux defensive lineman to sign his contract and prepare for the team's training camp.

Pittsburgh was the team that showed the most interest in Boyle, who should have a good grasp on the team's defensive philosophy.

"They were the one team I thought was a possibility the whole time because the play the 3-4 defense," Boyle said.

UND has run the 3-4 defensive alignment for years. Boyle played nose guard for the Sioux, but knows he'll have to make a switch for the pro game.

"I'll be at defensive end," said the 6-foot-4 Boyle, who played at 284 pound in his senior season at UND. "I'm too small to play inside."

Boyle was a two-year starter at UND, where he earned second team all-Great West Conference honors for the second straight season in 2010. He finished last season with 38 tackles, a sack and an interception.

"I am ready to go," Boyle said. "I have continued to work hard and market myself for this opportunity over the past several months and hopefully I can show the Steelers' coaching staff just what type of football player I can be for this organization."

He won't have to wait long to find out if he can make the Steelers' roster.

The Steelers open their preseason schedule Aug. 12 against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

Boyle was one of 18 undrafted free agents to sign a contract with the Steelers.