By Teresa Varley
Steelers rookies got a history lesson when they visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The visit is something that has been mandated league-wide by commission Roger Goodell as a part of rookie orientation.
"It's a great opportunity for the rookies to learn more about this game and the great experience they are about to encounter," said Ray Jackson, who heads up the Steelers player programs. "A lot of guys come to this level and think it's just about football not realizing the history that is behind it. I think this is a great way for them to understand what this game is about."
The rookies made the bus trip and received a guided tour of the Hall of Fame, learning about those who played before them.
"I think it's an awesome thing," said coach Mike Tomlin. "I think if one guy gains a little bit of respect about what those who have come before them have contributed to this game and the fact that he's a part of something special, then it's a great event."
That being the case, the mission was accomplished.
"It was an experience of a lifetime," side wide receiver Limas Sweed.
And Sweed showed that he knew a little bit about the history of the league, the Steelers in particular, when he correctly answered a question about what was the first Super Bowl the Steelers played in. He won a Hall of Fame coffee cup for his answer, something that he plans on keeping for a long time.
"It's something that I put in my locker," said Sweed, "and every day I use it as inspiration."
While Tomlin didn't attend the trip with the rookies he did make his first trip to the Hall of Fame last year when the Steelers played in the Hall of Fame game.
"I walked away somewhat in awe of some of the things that have happened in this game and with a level of appreciation for being a part of it," said Tomlin.