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Our new book Steelers Takeaways – taking the best stories and quotes from over 400 Steelers interviews and breaking them down by topic and generation – is now available. Order via Amazon and Barnes and Noble!
See what these former Steelers and others have to say about the book!
This is one of the most exciting times for Steelers fans as they build towards another Super Bowl run!
In celebration of the draft, here are some of the exciting and personal draft stories of some former Steelers. With over 400 interviews, Steelers Takeaways tells the personal draft stories of a hundreds of former players, including’;
Quotes from former Steelers we’ve interviewed about Ernie Stautner that played with him in the 50’s:
Dick Lasse: “Ernie Stautner was the toughest lineman in the league. He had a tremendous desire and work ethic. Everyone looked up to him with respect. He had the best forearm. He could deal a blow to an offensive lineman…”
Frank Varriochione: “Ernie Stautner and I hit it off real good. We became buddies and hung around together. We were all adults so we didn’t mentor each other much. We knew we had to play and practice. The game wasn’t that much different than it was in college then.”
Sean McHugh: “After my first week in Pittsburgh my wife arrived with my son and we were eating dinner in Cranberry when James Harrison was eating there as well and stopped by our table and introduced himself to my wife and told us that if we needed anything to let him know.”
Cortez Allen: “I also used to train at the same facility as James Harrison did in the offseason in Arizona. He was always the first in the building and I’d watch him in awe. He brought everything he had all the time. Well, this day was his upper body day. He finished and then Terrell Suggs came over and was struggling to finish his set. So James walked over and took it over from him and just started lifting like it was nothing, showing Suggs up! I always had a lot of respect for James.”
First, I spoke with former Steeler CJ Goodwin a short while ago and he praised the Youth Home and how it helped him. How did you get started with the youth home – what inspired the idea – and how has the team and city helped the youth home succeed?
The Mel Blount Youth Home was inspired years ago – in 1979-1980. It was soon after our last Super Bowl. I grew up n a small town in Vidalia, Georgia. We were dirt farmers and lived in a small community I was the first athlete from there and the first to win something like a Super Bowl.
When I went back home, all the kids would call me Uncle Mel. The kids would come to the farm and get autographs, take pictures with me and throw the football around. That’s when the Lord spoke to me. I knew I could do more than just sign autographs for the kids. it made me want to do more.
My brother and I started talking about how we we could do more and work with kids, and starting throwing ideas around. We talked about how it was on the farm with the kids – remember, this was before social media and cell phones. It was a big deal for the kids to see someone in person that they saw on TV.
First, as a legendary coach for Bethune-Cookman, tell me a little about how you entered into coaching and how influenced how you coached?
I never did any coaching before I got the job in 1961. I got the offer after I hurt my knee in Pittsburgh – I told them I’d give it a try after the coach that was there for fifteen years had to quit. He got sick and had to give up coaching, so I called just at the right time.
The president of the university was my high school coach. He knew of me but didn’t know what kind of athlete I was, I didn’t know either!
They had no athletic director, no coaches… I told them I’d take all of that. They had no players returning. so it was a kind of rough. Continue reading
First, let us know how is CFL going – is the goal to get back to the NFL?
Yeah, I’m trying to get back to the NFL. I’m hoping for one more time in the NFL. If not, I can make a career up here. Heck, the crime rate is only 5% up here so I’d be safer at least!
How has the CFL helped your career?
Well it’s given me more film to show other teams. I only had one year of film to show from the NFL. So that definitely helps. They can see I’m still a playmaker, doing what I’ve done all my life. And it definitely should help people who claim I’m a troublemaker see that I’ve never had problems here and to prove that I’m not a problem for anyone.
First, tell me about life as a scout – what got your started as a scout and what do you enjoy about it?
When I was playing I would always go into the scouting room and talk to Bill Nunn and the other guys there that were so integral to the guys we drafted. I was always interested in understanding how all of these talented guys got there and would ask them questions about how we found all of these amazing athletes.
They tried to deter me about the job – said it was too much travel. But after I played for as long as I could I called a number of teams asking for a chance to internship with them, and Phil Kreidler in Pittsburgh gave me a chance to pursue that interest. After it was over he called and asked me if I was still serious about being a scout. Now, ten years later, here I am!
First, can you let readers know what you’re doing with yourself since the NFL?
Ultimately I got into real estate and have been for seventeen years now. Along the way I built homes and was a sports agent for a couple of years until I settled on real estate.
How hard was that transition from football to a post football career?
I have to say I thought it would be an easy transition. I was a walk-on in college. No college recruited me. I was the last player drafted out of VMI and the only one since the 70’s. My dream was to fly for the Navy at first but I had a desire to play in the NFL too. The decision to play football wasn’t easy. I had to give up my flying slot in the Navy to play in the NFL. By the time I retired I was thirty-one and couldn’t go do that after that.
I tried a couple of things. I saw my peers nine years into their careers and felt behind the eight-ball. When you’re thirty-one you feel old! Continue reading
First, can you let readers know what you’ve been doing with yourself since your time in the NFL?
Just now, for the last year or so, i started the John L. Williams Foundation. Just got it off the ground and working on it now.
Basically, I’m working to help those in nursing homes, and it’s hard. Most of them are elderly in their ending stages. It’s harder to go in and be there. I had older parents who passed away and were in a nursing home. So I see the need. And it’s not just helping elderly in homes. It’s also about helping them in the community and working with groups like Habitat for Humanity. Continue reading
First, tell us a bit about your new job in Cleveland.
Well, I’m happy to be their new special teams coordinator. I’m looking forward to that. It’s a situation where there was mutual interest and an opportunity for me to get back to the AFC North.
Any odd feelings about playing for a team you once considered a big rival?
That’s the way it is in coaching. I’m an Alabama alum but when I coached against Alabama I coached to win the game and had mutual respect for everyone I played. You couldn’t find a more loyal Alabama alum but I always wanted to win.