LATROBE, Pa. -- Every day before practice, Nevin Lawson has his wrist taped. Then he grabs a black marker and gets to work writing a message to himself on the white tape.
It doesn’t take long, but it is invaluable to him. The messages are constant reminders to do one thing: Focus.
Sometimes, the message could be as simple as the word “Focus.”
Lately, though, Lawson has started writing another word on his white wrist tape: “Lara!” It's the name of his yet-to-be-born daughter, who is due in January. He doesn’t write her name every day -- sometimes his message is a drawn-out cross to symbolize his faith -- but the reasoning remains the same.
“I do certain things so after every play I’m able to refocus,” Lawson said.
Writing a message on his wrist is a process he began in college at Utah State at the suggestion of a sports psychologist.
So far, it’s worked. Lawson became a fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2014. After an injury to Rashean Mathis last season, he became a starter in the NFL -- a role he’s holding on to this year opposite emerging star Darius Slay.
So when you see Lawson briefly looking at his wrists before or after a play this season, he isn’t checking a play-call or anything else. He’s taking a second to become mentally ready to go up against a receiver again.
It was something he did during his practices with the Steelers as well, especially since he felt he and the secondary were making progress as they went along, particularly in team drills.
“It’s just a feeling, I can’t really explain it,” Lawson said. “You just know, as a player you should know if you’re making progress or if you’re not making progress.”