Ever since inception, the Pittsburgh Steelers have maintained a strong “family first” culture within the organization. This started with the Rooney family, who continue it to this day, and runs throughout the coaching staff to the players on the practice squad. The Steelers exercise this to an even higher degree in pairing brothers together on the roster in the way of T.J. Watt and Derek Watt, Cam Heyward and Connor Heyward, Terrell Edmunds and Trey Edmunds, and Carlos Davis and Khalil Davis. Needless to say, with multiple brothers and fathers on the Steelers roster, it seems fitting to hear about what being a father means to a few of the leaders of the Steelers.
One of the newest dads in the Steelers locker room is Mitch Trubisky. We are all well aware of the move the Trubisky’s made back in March and Trubisky even made mention of how excited he was to have his son born and raised in Pittsburgh. With about a month and a half of fatherhood under his belt so far, Trubisky loves being a dad:
“I am so excited every day to go home and spend time with my wife and son. It’s incredible seeing someone you half created, and the other half is your favorite person in the world, which is my wife,” he said. “It’s amazing.”
Trubisky then explained being a dad was a life goal of his in addition to his football career. Not to mention, it helps keep him balanced between football and family:
“I always wanted to be a dad. Being in the NFL and being a dad are my two dreams coming true. There is a different switch you turn on. You don’t care about yourself as much anymore. You just worry about that little baby, making sure he is getting stronger, getting fed, getting the sleep he needs,” Trubisky said. “He keeps me focused. I am more alert. I am so excited to go home every day and spend time with him and watch him grow and make sure I can be the best role model and father for him. It’s only been a month or so. I am new to it. But it’s something I always looked forward to and I am enjoying it.”
Trubisky isn’t the only offensive player who has father duties in his home. (Derek) Watt is a proud father of a pair of boys and has loved every second of fatherhood. We’ve heard stories about their “favorite Uncle T.J.” and Watt talked about how he values his sons and what it means to him being the only Watt brother with children:
“I have two boys and it’s so special. They are little extensions of my wife and I. They are so special to me. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for them. Just being able to go home every day and have them yell ‘daddy’ when I come in the door and come over and give me a big hug. That is the best,” he said. “I love to put them in bed at night, read them a book and just lay there with them. It’s like nothing I have ever experienced before. I was never around kids much before this, neither of my brothers have kids, so we weren’t around a lot of kids. Going through it the first time in our family is special. And just seeing the relationship they have with my brothers and my wife’s brother is special.”
This off-season is going to be a bit different for Watt than recent ones. Watt moved to Pittsburgh before the COVID pandemic and hasn’t had to be away from his family in the summer for an extended period of time. But with training camp being back in Latrobe, Watt knows there is going to be an adjustment come July:
“This will be the first year of training camp going away to Latrobe,” said Watt. “I have been fortunate enough to go home every night and not have to stay away at training camp. This year will be different because I will be away from them at night for about a week at a time,” Watt explained. “During the off-season, I try and get as much time with them as possible. During the season we have longer days, we have road trips, things like that. I try to take advantage of it and get as much time with them as possible in the off-season and in the season, our off day, coming home and still getting the little things.”
Now, let’s flip to the defensive side of the Steelers locker room, specifically along the defensive line. Defensive captain Heyward is a proud father of three and knows the value of a strong father figure in their lives. Being a father in the Heyward family may take on an entirely different meaning compared to others, as Craig “Ironhead” Heyward raised his sons engulfed in the game of football. We see shades of (Craig) Heyward’s playstyle in both Heyward brothers and they truly embody Steelers football. With Heyward’s son being six years old, Heyward is able to recreate memories he had with his father with his own son:
“The last time I got to take him to camp, he was like three years old, so he didn’t really appreciate it. I am looking forward to giving him more of a behind the scenes look this year,” he said. “That is what I always loved. My dad would put me on his shoulders after games, take me in the locker room. I want to be able to do that with my son and show him what I do close up.”
Heyward has been a consistent giver when it comes to his community. We’ve seen a plethora of charitable efforts by the Heyward House and Heyward’s philanthropic side always shines. When you thought Heyward’s heart couldn’t grow even more, fatherhood has been a driver for Heyward both on and off the field:
“It really had made my heart bigger,” Heyward continued. “I just think the level of patience you have to have as a dad. I want to leave a legacy like my dad left for me. That becomes even more motivation for me than anything I do.”
Steelers 4-Time Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee, Cameron Heyward: “Nobody has made it to the top alone.”
In addition to Heyward, there is another Steelers defensive lineman who prides himself as a father. For Chris Wormley, being a father of a young daughter has changed him significantly. Although he’s known for his large, physical imposition along the defensive line, being a dad has allowed Wormley to discover a completely opposite side of himself:
“I feel like I am a nicer person, more loving and more emotional, which I think my wife would say that, and I think she would like,” Wormley said. “I have more compassion, not only for my daughter, but people in my life,” he continued. “The way you shape somebody, or how they grow up, is their life experience.”
With Wormley needing to be such a physical force as his job, it is tough in maintaining a healthy balance in raising a young girl. Needless to say, this tends to be a challenge, but Wormley fully embraces it:
“When I get home, it’s her time and my wife’s time until we put her to bed at 7-7:30. Then I get into football mode for two hours until I go to bed. It was tough getting into that flow at first. It’s definitely a challenge, but I love every minute of the challenge.”
Similar to Heyward, Wormley knows the time will come when his daughter will fully understand what he does for a living. Although she is too young today, Wormley explained she still keeps him on his toes:
“When they are younger, they don’t really know anything,” he said. “Being able to show them things. The greatest joy is like when you have a dog, and you go home, and they are so excited to see you. When I get home, my daughter is so excited to see me. I am sure that is going to change when she is a 13-year-old and dad grounded her for a week,” he added. “She changes every day. She has a different attitude every day. She has a different favorite snack every day. Her favorite book is always changing. It makes me a better person, more patient and be more compassionate for people in life, which is good.”
Happy Father’s Day to all of SteelerNation!
Who is your favorite dad on the Steelers? If you’re a dad, what does fatherhood mean to you? Let us know in the comments below!