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A heartwarming day in Harvin's life

Leading up to the 2023 NFL Draft, Steelers players will be sharing their Draft Day Memories, from the time they went to the NFL Scouting Combine, through the moment they were drafted. In this installment, punter Pressley Harvin III gives his take.

Pressley Harvin III - 2021 NFL Draft - 7th Round

When I came out draft eligible, one of the first things I thought about was the combine. I did wind up getting invited to it, but we didn't have it because of covid. It's something that gives guys exposure. You get a chance to get in front of the scouts and different organizations and things like that, to put your best foot forward. Not having that situation and that opportunity in front of me, I knew I had to just ball out at pro day. We had an early pro day too. That allowed me to get that out of the way early and then have a lot more time to get feedback from coaches of what to work on and things like that.

(Steelers special teams coordinator) Danny Smith was running my pro day workout so it kind of worked out in my favor. I talked to Danny a lot along the way, a good little bit throughout the process of the draft. I had a feeling he was going to be there to do it. I knew I had to put my best foot forward in front of him. He knows every single thing about the game, especially special teams stuff. I had to ball out.

We had about 20 people working out at my pro day. It was my entire class, and we had a couple of guys from around Atlanta from different schools that wanted to do it for exposure. Not having the actual combine, it was completely different. It's like an abstract way of getting into the NFL, but it did work out in my favor. But if I was to go back, I would love to do the combine honestly just for the exposure. They still sent us all of the combine gear. We had meetings and stuff, but it just wasn't the same thing, especially getting that invite early on and we didn't get word right away that it was going to be canceled. I had hopes for it, but it didn't work out.

Having my pro day be one of the earlier ones, that gave me a lot of time afterwards to just keep working. At that point I knew what to work on, what was being looked for. That did help.

And my relationship with Danny Smith helped. It was prior to my pro day that he called me one random day. We had a really good talk. It was down to earth. The first thing we talked about was personalities, what I like to do, things like that. Then we just dove straight into football talk. It was cool. After that conversation I felt like I knew everything about him. I felt extremely comfortable with Danny, a great coach to be around. He is old school, which is good because I've had old school coaches just about my entire career. Just the work ethic. You just have to keep working.

In the end, if we had the combine, I might not have had that conversation with him. It was different for our group with the way coaches had the interviews and reached out to us. Normally you have all of that in person. With covid we didn't have that opportunity to do those things. It was all zoom calls the whole time and it was a little bit weird, but it was still an opportunity. I was still talking to organizations and trying to put my best foot forward. It was different. But I'm appreciative of it and definitely appreciative of Danny because when he came down to my workout, he actually got a chance to meet my family. And he met his Georgia Tech family again. It felt good to have someone there who already knows the road from Georgia Tech to being in the league and coaching for how long he has. It made me feel a lot better, especially on that pro day in 45-degree weather and rain. It made me feel a lot better.

As far as the pro day, it was stressful. That day was extremely stressful. I was supposed to kick last. I ended up doing it first thing of the entire pro day, after weigh in and stuff. That was because of conditions and things outside. We have an indoor facility at Georgia Tech, but indoors was not tall enough. We were trying to beat the rain. So, at 8:30 a.m. I'm outside trying to kick in the weather. I think Danny wound up working me for an hour. It was a long day. It was an extremely good process. The workout went pretty well. We had really good exposure from teams being there. It was a good day.

After the pro day I had zoom interviews with three or four different teams. I didn't have one with the Steelers, though. The one call I had with the team was the call with Danny early on. That was the only conversation I had with the organization. I was kind of shellshocked after that. I'm like, okay, Danny said good things afterwards. I didn't hear anything ever since. I had other teams that were interested but didn't know if there was going to be a draft selection that was going to be available for me. I think it's a little bit of playing cards on the Steelers part, but at the same time I feel like it just puts a lot of pressure on guys, especially if you talked to someone one time and the next thing you are wondering did I say something wrong or do anything wrong that they don't like me. I had to tell myself this is a business, and this is a lot different than the collegiate level. I put my best foot forward, so I didn't have any doubt in my mind that it was on me. But it does play a little bit of mind games, especially having an earlier pro day and not having the combine and then waiting for so long until the draft.

For the draft we did an Airbnb up in Georgia, close to the Atlanta area and Kennesaw. We wanted to have a place where we could all come in for the weekend. We had a cookout the first night, had a good time, good camaraderie. I was projected to go between the fourth and sixth round from what I was told, but it didn't work out that way. I didn't have any conversation on the first day. The second day came and didn't have anything then. I was on track if I didn't get drafted to go to Minnesota on a free agency deal. I didn't hear anything from anywhere else up until the third day of the draft. We started making phone calls. Everybody was saying they'll see if that works out, but they don't have the picks in place. And free agency started to happen. I felt like I did so much more. I've committed myself so much to the game of football that I thought that day was going to be a little bit different. Especially being the only punter taken in that draft, I knew something was up because two long snappers got drafted and then two kickers got drafted earlier. When I saw that, I was thinking this is weird because every other punter I've heard said this is the punter class. And in a specialist world that's big for me because you don't want to go in a class that no one would probably get drafted. But the cards were completely different that day. I was extremely surprised on that day. I was a little upset because I wanted to hear my name called earlier. But when I got that phone call, I was extremely appreciative.

The crazy thing is I missed my actual first draft call. I was on the phone with a different team, and he was talking to me about switching over from Minnesota. I see the 412 area code. We weren't watching the television at this point. Me and my agent, my dad, we stepped outside and talked about it. And while that conversation is going on, I'm getting that call from Pittsburgh not knowing that I'm getting drafted. Missed the call. I call right back and it's Coach Mike Tomlin on the phone. He's like hey Pressley, I hope you're not doing any free agent deals or anything like that, trying to figure out where you're going to go. I'm told him I'm trying to figure it out. He said don't even worry about it. We're taking you with our seventh-round pick.

I started bawling. I was extremely excited. God puts you out in this different type of space. I felt like he was trying to calm me down and just tell me my life is about to change. Stop being so upset about yourself because you put everything into it to be able to have your name called. And when I got that phone call, I burst out in tears, ran back into the house.

The one thing that I learned is it's not about where you go in the draft, or if you are drafted, but it's about the opportunity that is there. My parents always told me an opportunity is only useful if you take it. I told myself, no matter what the opportunity looked like after that draft ended, if I was drafted or not, I was going to take the opportunity to go somewhere and change my life and my family's forever. I'm extremely appreciative that it was here because this organization is top notch. I've loved this place since I stepped foot in it from the first day and I have no complaints about it. I'm appreciative of it every single day.

It was the proudest moment for my entire family, and I was so blessed to have them there. It was all of the people that throughout the entirety of me trying to be a specialist since seventh grade, believed in me. That motivated me every single day when times were rough. It was one of the best days of our lives. I still think about that day every now and then. It was extremely heartwarming, and it was one of the best days of our lives as a family.

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers seventh-round pick P Pressley Harvin III

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