Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades – Order Today!

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As heard on Tunch & Wolf show, ESPN, 93.7 The Fan, TribLIVE Radio, KDKA, SB Nation Radio and more!

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!

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Exclusive with Hank Fraley, RMU/Steelers Center, 2000

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First, as the offensive line coach now for UCLA – tell me about about who has influenced you as a coach, and how?

It’s funny. Reflecting back, my dad was a huge influence. He coached me all the way up to high school in every sport – baseball, basketball…on the travel teams.. He influenced me. always wanted to coach – he was my first ever coach, from day one, since I was six.

Joe Hammond was my high school coach – hs a legendary coach in Maryland where I grew up. And of course I had Joe Walton and Dan Radakovich at RMU. Joe was a top fifty ballplayer at Pitt and coached for twenty-plus years in the league and in college.

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Exclusive with Steelers Offensive Lineman Marvel Smith, 2000-2008

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First, tell me what you’ve been doing with yourself since you retired?

Well, I’ve been keeping things low-keyed. I’m not on social media – I don’t know what’s going on with anyone except for some of the guys I keep in touch with. The big thing is my family. I retired at thirty. My kids now are nine, six, and five. Taking care of them is a lot harder work – no days off. I used to look forward to the Summer – now it’s the hardest time of my life. But I love it.

I like having that – I didn’t have a father around me when I was younger. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be with my family. I played long enough to accumulate the wealth I needed so I can take care of my family, Now I can help my wife and be with the kids. Less is more.

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Exclusive with Steelers Defensive Lineman Hebron Fangupo, 2012-2013

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First, tell us about your job as a Defensive Line coach at Snow College. How did you start your career as a coach?

Well I always knew I wanted to be a coach. Even before I stopped playing I was pursuing a career as  a coach. I asked Coach Tomlin, LeBeau and all those guys advice all the time and wrote notes religiously. I was always surrounded by good coaches and players.

John Mitchell – there was a method to his madness. He was always mad. But I learned a lot from him. How to get players to match a coach’s personality – the toughness that he expected. You knew he meant business. But man, if you give the guy a glass of wine, he’ll sing for you.

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Exclusive with Steelers WR Santonio Holmes, 2006-2009

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First, tell us a bit about your work with III and Long – your foundation?

Well, I founded III & Long by myself, with four other people. My son has a rare disease that has plagued my family and cost us lives over the years. Sickle Cell Disease has touched so much of our lives – I lost many family members years do to Sickle Cell.

Personally, I just want to build on who I am as a sports figure and be more proactive in helping families fight against causes they can’t control.

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Exclusive with Shamarko Thomas, Steelers Safety, 2013-2016

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First, let us know what you’re up to now?

Well, I’m training. Just waiting for a call. You know, the free agency process.

Has your agent told you anything? Any teams you are hoping for?

Just that I need to take it week to week. We’re just looking for a situation that works to get signed by a team. I’m not looking to get signed by any specific team really.

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Exclusive with Scottie Montgomery, Steelers WR Coach, 2010-2012

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First, can you talk a bit about how being a successful undrafted free agent impacted your approach as a coach?

The biggest deal really of being an undrafted free agent is that people look at it as a terribly hard road to make it in the NFL. But it gives you the mindset to accomplish big things. The biggest thing for me was needing to understand the details quickly – the schematics in coaching. As an undrafted free agent I had to quickly learn all the wide receiver positions – the X, Z, slot…whatever they call it depending on the team. The details that also come with learning the run game and everything else. Just gaining the knowledge of the game. I constantly was learning the game and seeking information.

That’s because as an undrafted free agent you have the humility – you’re humble. And the veterans like that and will help you any way the can because of that humility. That helps me now as a coach – it’s the same deal. I always try to learn the details and be humble enough to ask questions and learn the work as humbly as possible.

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Exclusive with Steelers Wide Receiver Paul Skansi, 1983

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First, let us know what brought you to your role as a scout for the Chargers – how did this come about?

I’ve been a scout for seventeen years now. I thought I’d get into the mortgage business – but the market fell through. I got the football bug so I went back to the University of Washington and finished my degree. I had ten credits left. I worked with the football program after then got a job as a coach at the University of Idaho – I was there for five years then I got a job at Nevada,  I was there for seven-to-eight months  But I had a young family and when the opportunity at San Diego to become a scout came up, I took that. It offered more security for me and my family – I took the job in 2000 and have been there ever since.

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Exclusive with Steelers WR Isaac Blakeney, 2016

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First, can you let me know what you’re doing with yourself since you’ve retired from the NFL? 

Well, I’m on the path to getting my MBA. I’m working on logistics and strategy in business. The holdup for me is that I have the have a certain amount of work experience – I was conditionally accepted for the program but I need real experience. I tried to convince them that my time on the NFL counted – to twist that, but they didn’t accept that understandably. So I have to build my resume.

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Exclusive with Jack Ham, Steelers Linebacker, 1971-1982

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First  – you’re a busy guy – tell me about the various things you have going on right now

The first thing is my energy business –  we ship coal to utilities and export them from West Virginia.

But I’m now in the Agro-Med business – we have obtained a license for growing medical cannabis and are constructing greenhouses in Pennsylvania. We were one of twelve companies to be issues licenses by the state and have to have them up and running by the end of the year. So that’s obviously on the frontburner…

And I’m still doing the broadcasts for Penn State – I’m staying busy…

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Exclusive with Dr. David Chao, Former NFL Head Team Doctor , Orthopedist

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First, tell us about your new site and work as an Orthopedist!

Well, my main work is still as an orthopedist – surgeries, etc.  But the new site is ProFootballDoc  run by the San Diego Tribune. I live in San Diego and was the team orthopedist for San Diego. They contacted me to work with them on the site – they wanted a more national offering. The site offers injury updates for fantasy football players and fans.

What brought you to this point and how did you get so much popularity on social media as an orthopedist!

Blame it on my wife – for all of this. When I stopped being the orthopedist for the Chargers after seventeen years, I was watching the football games and hearing the announcers talk about an ankle injury when I could see the player blew out his knee the play before. I was yelling at the announcers on the tv when my wife told me to tell it to someone who cares.

So, she later signed me up on Twitter – I didn’t know anything about it really -I’m not on any other social media. I played wth Twitter and it just grew organically (now to over 60,000 followers – @ProFootballDoc ). I made friends doing it in the media and enjoyed it. I can’t tell you now how many people tell me they follow me for football injury information but don’t want to tell their friends about me so they can win at fantasy football.

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