Pittsburgh, PA is known for its blue collar, hard-working, sports loving, steel city roots. And one of the first things you think of when you hear “Pittsburgh,” is the Steelers.
Since the 1930’s, the Rooney family has prided themselves on making this franchise not only championship caliber, but family oriented, and an organization that represents the city itself. That’s been one of the staples of this team since it was first established in 1933.
If yinz need more proof of this ideology, there are no better examples than some of the recent transactions the Steelers have made in past years when it comes to signing family to the team. No no, we literally mean family. Actual brothers.
In the sixth round of 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Connor Heyward, fullback/tight end out of the University of Michigan State. Why is that important you ask? Connor is the younger brother of Steelers’ defensive captain, Cam Heyward. Both are the sons of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, a former NFL fullback who played from 1988-1998.
— NFL (@NFL) May 2, 2022
This isn’t the first time (and probably not the last time), the Steelers have made this type of move for the team.
In 2017, the Steelers drafted edge rusher TJ Watt in the first round (30th overall), the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and later signed his older brother Derek Watt in 2020. Derek is currently the Steelers’ special teams captain and had a similar role back with the Los Angeles Chargers from 2016-2019.
In 2018, the Steelers drafted safety Terrell Edmunds (28th overall) in the first round, and later signed his older brother, running back Trey Edmunds that same year. As of right now, Terrell is the presumed starter at strong safety for 2022, and Trey should resume his role as another important practice squad player for the franchise.
Oh, we’re not done. In 2020, the Steelers drafted defensive lineman, Carlos Davis in the seventh round (232 overall), and then signed his twin brother Khalil Davis in 2021. Khalil previously spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2020 to 2021 before joining his brother in the Steel City.
The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Philosophy
This brings a total of FOUR sets of brothers to the Steelers’ current active roster. So why is this important and is the organization doing this on purpose? The late Dan Rooney once explained what the Pittsburgh Steelers are all about:
“The biggest thing my father passed on to me, and I hope we’ve continued it, is to treat people right. We treat our players as family, not workers. We’re concerned for them away from the field and whatever problems they might have. My father always had a relationship with the players. And I’ve tried to do the same.”
What better way to live by those words than to actually have your literal brother lined up next to you every Sunday on the gridiron. To care for your teammates and the people within this organization is what this team is all about. The Steelers are a franchise that’s known for these values, and they continue to prove it quite literally.
Even if you aren’t “blood” related, the values of these sentiments still hold true if you’ve ever been a member of the black and gold. During the team’s OTA practice at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex back in 2019, a group of Steelers alumni attended practice as guests of the team as part of the continued outreach to alumni.
“It’s another way for all of us to connect, the players from the different generations,” said Arthur Moats, who played from 2014-17 and is still active with the team as part of the SNR broadcast group. “We all have that Steelers tie. We are able to share different stories. For me seeing some of my former teammates is a good time.”
“I think it’s awesome they do this. Even though you are not currently on the team, it shows you are a part of that Steelers family. That is the one thing they preach when you sign here, that it’s a family. That starts with Mr. (Art) Rooney (II). They care about you as a person. For them to invite you back, it shows they care about you. Not just in season, but during an OTA practice when you can connect with people.” – via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com
Things you love to see! The Steelers continue to live by their set values and stand on the principles that defined this organization so many years ago. As The Fast and the Furious’ Dominic Toretto always says, “There’s always room for family.”
Thoughts on the Steelers’ “family” philosophy? Click to comment below!