"I am like a kid in a candy store."
Those were the words Steelers Hall of Famer Mel Blount shared as he stood in the Steelers Hall of Honor Museum at Acrisure Stadium, looking around at the history of the team, a history he helped to build.
"I have never been through the whole place before. It's such an incredible place," said Blount, a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor inaugural class in 2017. "I am so honored to be a part of this museum and the Hall of Honor.
"When I look back at my career and being a part of such a great Steelers organization and that group from the 1970s. Joe Greene was the building block. Terry Bradshaw and I were rookies together. But to be where we are today and see all of this is kind of emotional. You know what the journey was like."
The Hall of Honor Museum provides an in-depth history of the franchise, and some players who are a part of that history took a private tour on Thursday. The group of legends spent the evening taking it all in, enjoying every aspect of the museum that is a chronological flow of Steelers history that focuses on key moments, including many the legends were a part of.
"The whole museum is special," said Blount. "It tells the history of the Steelers and the journey. I just think it's so special. I am glad to be a part of it.
"This is emotional."
Blount stopped for a minute and explained the emotions, many of them that started during a 12-minute video everyone watches when they enter the museum that shares the history of the Steelers, much of it told by the legends themselves.
"What is so emotional is I was watching the video it and we just lost Franco Harris who is a big part of it," said Blount. "To see the video of him and hear his voice. And then Chuck (Noll) and Dan (Rooney), all the people who are a part of building this legacy. That is why it's emotional.
"I thank God for the journey and the people. That is what is special, the people. You put in work to be a part of this, and the people you never forget them."
And that was the case as two former teammates, two friends, and two members of the Hall of Honor stood alongside each other looking at a display that featured their jerseys. Jon Kolb, a member of the Hall of Honor Class of 2021 and Larry Brown, a member of the Hall of Honor Class of 2019, saw their jerseys hanging side-by-side in a replica locker from Three Rivers Stadium.
"For me to come here tonight and see my jersey in the locker is really nice, but they put my jersey in the same locker as Larry Brown," said Kolb, the move touching him deeply. "We were friends. We trained together every day in the offseason. It means so much. Then you have all of the coaches, owners, teammates, the City of Pittsburgh, the people in the organization that mean so much."
Kolb and Brown chatted throughout the tour, but no moment spoke of what it meant to them more than when they posed beside their locker.
"I am struck by my pairing with Jon here," said Brown. "Jon was a mentor to me. When I switched from tight end to tackle, he took me under his wing. He showed me the subtleties and techniques of playing tackle. Without him showing me things, I couldn't have had the career I had. He is a dear friend and someone I really look up to.
"This is absolutely special. What you are struck by is how much you have in common with all of these guys. You worked a similar job doing this. A lot of time it's almost in anonymity doing it. But to see that somebody recognized and chose to honor it is quite touching."
The Hall of Honor Museum features everything from one-of-a-kind artifacts, exclusive game-worn uniform pieces, the Steelers six Super Bowl rings and replicated offices of founder Art Rooney Sr. and chairman Daniel M. Rooney.
The highlight, however, is the Hall of Honor, where the 49 members bronze footballs are on display, along with their images and touch screen kiosks to learn more about them, including their bios, photos and videos of the inductees.
"When they had the Hall of Honor induction for me, Mike Wagner was there as well," said Kolb. "He was talking about it and what it meant with me. He kept saying, 'Well it means,' over and over again. He couldn't find the words to describe it. What he didn't say is so much more powerful than anything you can say.
"To be a part of this, it does give you goosebumps. You aren't in the front row, but you are a part of it. You are a part of something special. And this museum honors that and so much more."
The Steelers Hall of Honor Museum is located above the Steelers Pro Shop at Acrisure Stadium and accessible via the Gate B suite entry. Fans can visit the Steelers Hall of Honor Museum year-round, Thursday-Monday, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday (except when there is a Pittsburgh Pirates home game), and dates and hours are subject to change without notice.
The tour fee is as follows: adults - $18, seniors (62+)/military - $15, children (ages 6-17) - $12, and children ages 5 & under - free. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund.
For more information on tours, group tours and booking, visit steelers.com/museum, or email email@example.com.