Ask Duce Staley about the passion that has become a job, and his eyes light up and a smile creases his face.
As it turns out, the running back's need for speed goes beyond the football field.
Staley is the owner of the Catch 22 Motorsports team, and it will enter two cars in the National Hot Rod Association's Drag Racing Series in 2007.
When asked if he sees himself getting behind the wheel of one of his cars, Staley laughed.
"I don't know yet," he said. "Let's save that for later."
For now, Staley is squarely focused on a different kind of running. The right knee that has hobbled him for more than a year is feeling stronger every day, Staley said.
That is why he is optimistic he will contribute this season, even though he has yet to get a carry and has become a forgotten man in the Steelers' backfield.
Staley was inactive for Monday night's game in Jacksonville and could be again Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Heinz Field.
"It's been frustrating, but it's also been a learning process, too," Staley said Friday after practice at the Steelers' South Side facility. "Just know that you can't jump back out there when you think you feel good, because you've got to be 100 percent."
The 31-year-old Staley hasn't been 100 percent since his first season with the Steelers in 2004.