Javon Hargrave knows exactly what Steelers seventh-round draft pick Keion Adams is going through right now. He was in the same position last year, a rookie trying to learn the ropes, get accustomed to his new surroundings and all new faces.
But for Adams, there is one thing that is different. There is a familiar face that will be around. And that, is Hargrave.
Hargrave and Adams both grew up in Salisbury, North Carolina, and when Adams got the call from the Steelers, one of the first people he thought about was Hargrave.
“Javon is like my older brother,” said Adams. “We grew up together, we are from the same city. We played AAU basketball together. We played football in the backyard, we went to church, his dad is a pastor and I go to his church. I look at him as an older brother. I am just blessed. I can’t wait.”
Hargrave said he had the NFL Draft on television, and was kind of paying attention. Then he heard Adams name announced, and he heard Steelers, and he couldn’t have been happier.
“I was screaming like it was me being drafted,” said Hargrave. “He called as soon as it happened. We were shouting and screaming. I told him let’s get to work. It was a good moment. It was unique. He came up here for a visit so I knew we were looking at him. Our city back home is going crazy. We have a lot of talent but there aren’t a lot of guys that go to the league from my hometown. That is what made it special. And being on the same team made it even more special. People texted me like I got drafted. They are telling me to look after him. I am very happy for him. I am going to teach him. I have only been here a year, but I am going to teach him everything I can.
“He is a cool dude. He is like my little brother. He is actually my little brother’s best friend. He is someone my mother calls her son too. He is a hard worker and very talented guy.”
While Hargrave admits he is still getting his feet wet as he enters his second season, he definitely will look out for his ‘little brother.’ He already has shared stories about the Steelers with him, well before he was drafted.
“He told me he loved it here,” said Adams. “He said you work and go about your business. It’s a hard working culture. At the end of the day you have to come in and work. The fans embrace you. The expectations as far as within the organization, the coaches, the players in the locker room, the fans, it’s a blue collar organization and be ready to work.
“Plus just watching the team over the years, it’s a great football tradition. Every time you see the black and gold, you know what it’s about. It’s about business.”