A special homecoming for Steelers alumni

They shared stories, updated each other on what they have been doing and topped it all off by watching their former team defeat the New England Patriots, 25-17, at Heinz Field for what was the perfect ending to a special weekend for Steelers alumni.

Each year the team brings back a group of former players for a weekend of football and fun, with 16 players and two former assistant coaches from the 1980s taking part in this year's Alumni Weekend.

The stories began when they gathered for an afternoon of bowling on Saturday, and as you can imagine there were plenty of laughs.

"There were lots of lies being shared," joked Bubby Brister.

"You know us," added Gerald Williams. "Our lies were big when we played and they get even bigger when we get older."

The group attended Taste of the Steelers on Saturday night, an event which benefitted the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC and the Cancer Caring Center. 

They shared stories about their playing days with those in attendance, getting plenty of good-natured ribbing, but also showing their appreciation for what it meant to play for the Steelers.

"I've shed blood, sweat and tears with a bunch of these guys up here," said Louis Lipps. "If they called me, I would strap it up with these boys any day, any time, any place."

Donnie Shell joked that the hits he used to deliver on opponents would likely all draw fines today, while Warren Williams told of being a lifelong Steelers fan thanks to his parents raising him that way.

"It was the best thing ever for me to get drafted by the Steelers," Warren Williams proudly stated.

Players brought their wives and children, allowing them to understand what they did and how special playing for the Steelers was.   

"This is his first time coming to Pittsburgh," said Harvey Clayton, who brought his 13-year old son Harvey. "He finally gets a chance to see what I experienced. It's wonderful. I want him to be successful in life and that is what the Steelers taught me, to be successful in life."

On Sunday they players gathered for a group photo with Dan Rooney, Sr. and then watched pregame warm-ups from the sidelines.

"This is special. It's really special," said Gerald Williams. "This is something we were going to try and do, come back just to visit. It's special to have all of us back, visit one another and see what is going on in our lives. It's special they are willing to do it."

The players took the field at halftime in their jerseys and received a warm welcome from the fans.

"It's great to see everybody, come back and mingle with the fans," said Brister. "This is the first time I have been to Heinz Field. It's a great deal. It's been amazing."

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