First, congratulations on your 10 year anniversary! What were your first thoughts when the team contacted you to be a part of the celebration? Any reluctance? And how did they do so?
First off I would just like to say thank you for having me back – it’s always a pleasure and an honor. A letter and email was sent to me but I have been busy traveling and taking care of some family issues concerning my dad, so I had put it off until knowing the status of recovery. Willie Parker and I spoke a week prior to the events/ceremony and reminded me so I quickly contacted Lynne Molyneaux who works extremely hard and diligently for the Pittsburgh Steelers and putting these events together and she facilitated my travel and hotel arrangements. So needless to say there was no reluctance or hesitation once I knew I had the time.
Were you able to spend any time with the other guys before or after the game Sunday? What fun stories of your reunion can you share?
Yes, we were able to catch up before the events at the hotel and it was like picking up not missing a beat it seemed like no time had lapsed. Comradery of so many years ago still filled the room.
What surprised you most about the guys you saw and spent time with?
I wouldn’t say that I was surprised but, I was more please a brotherhood started many years ago still coincide today and I was extremely proud to see how that unveiled.
I was not far from you actually in the stands and it looked like the Olympic athletes at times, with guys taking videos and pictures of the celebration. How did it feel for you to be back on the field? What was going through your mind on Sunday?
Great memories of a rich tradition of being in the black and gold ran through my head.
How did you and the rest of the players and coaches handle all of that added big game pressure on Super Bowl Sunday? What did you and they so leading up to the game and during the game to keep people calm and less tense?
I believe our team with the veterans leadership that we had really did not let the magnitude of the game get to us, we always believe that every game was a opportunity for us to seize the moment and be great so we consider it just another game.
What is your biggest/best memory of that day?
Finding my family through all the confetti and celebrating with them after the game I would have to say.
Sometimes – player’s departure from the team is not so smooth. In those cases, like with Troy, is it a matter of time just needing to pass? How can those situations be handled better – on both sides?
The one thing always taught to me from Hall of fame Jerome Bettis was, the NFL like any other company is a business first. We as players put every fiber of being in our bodies and heart to being successful, often times playing through unmeasurable pain taking along our families and loved ones. So naturally our emotions are wrapped up in it considerably.
Troy in my opinion will go down as one of the best players to ever put on a NFL/ Pittsburgh Steeler Jersey, a player that comes along once in a blue moon redefining the safety position. I guarantee you every Sunday when #43 was lined up opposite opposing offenses they had to account and know where he was at all times he literally was a game changer.
Looking at the team and organization now, what has changed most about the organization and players since you played? Especially since the game itself has changed so much.
Truthfully the organization has not changed, the Steelers still remain the elite among all NFL teams, starting with the head with the Rooney’s followed by every one else that is associated and put in countless hours behind the seen to make them the classiest organization bar none. The game may have changed but the formula remains the same,” WIN”!
Looking at this year’s team, what are your thoughts on its ability to celebrate your reunion with another Super Bowl win? What does it need to improve on?
There’s one thing that you really can’t account for which are injuries, which have hampered us a bit this year but, I truly believe once we have everyone healthy and back going into the fourth quarter of the season we will pick up steam and momentum which you need rolling into the postseason.
Lastly, thanks for taking the time again to interview with us. What’s next for Verron Haynes?
Thanks again for having me on always a pleasure like I mentioned earlier. The kids keep us busy never a dull moment “Haynes” household.
Read more by former Steelers via the book Steelers Takeaways: Player Memories Through the Decades. To order, just click on the book: