Finding a role model right at home

Quarterback Devlin Hodges remembers the days when his mom, Amy, drove him to football practice. He remembers his father Zane being his football coach and taking him duck hunting.

But the most important thing he remembers, is the lessons they both taught him.

Hodges shared the best lesson he learned from his parents, who he considers his mentors, as a part of National Mentoring Month and a video he did with the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania (MPSWPA).

"The thing they taught me is to just be me," said Hodges. "That is something I always tried to do, be myself. I never met anyone who doesn't like who Devlin Hodges is. The best advice they gave me was just be me. The way they raised me. The way they taught me things on and off the field, character. Just be true to myself and be who I am."

Hodges gives his parents all the credit in the world for being his mentors, for helping to guide him and be there for him for whatever he needed.

"They have mentored me and shown me the extra support," Hodges said in the video. "The two people I think about the most are my mom and my dad.

"When I was growing up, all through high school, my mom was always the one dropping me off to all of the football camps. Taking off days from work and letting me go to these camps, and getting better, and getting looked at. I am so thankful for all of that. She has always been my biggest fan. She has always been that person. She is the first one who would take me to any visit I needed to go on.

"Another mentor in my life has been my pops. From five years old when I started playing football, he was my little league coach. He was the head coach, so he was pretty hard on me. He has always been there for me. He'll tell you he taught me everything I know. I don't know if that is all true. But he has always been there for me.

"It's great to have both of them show that extra support and be there. I wouldn't be here today without them. I wouldn't be the person I am today without them. They raised me to be who I am. I am so thankful for them."

Hodges said he never takes for granted how lucky he is to have the strong parents he does who guided him so much during his upbringing.

"I am sure I don't thank them enough because I can't thank them enough," said Hodges. "I am really appreciative of what they did for me. It's a blessing. It helped our connection. I have always been close with my family. Having my dad coach me. Having my mom be the one to drive me around to all of football camps, practices and my games. All the advice they gave me along the way is special. The special thing about it is I never had to go look for it. I knew I could find it in the same walls I was in each and every day."

The Steelers relationship with the Mentoring Partnership is one that has been in effect since the organization's inception, as late Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Sr. was the founding chairman. The bond has remained and for players like Hodges he wants to continue to encourage people to search for good mentors.

"It's one of the most important things to have in your life," said Hodges. "I don't know anyone who has done it on their own, what they learned without help. Things I learned in football, duck hunting, duck calling, I have had someone show me the way, the base of it. There is nothing out there I learned completely on my own.

"That is why it's important to have mentors. They can help you in hard times. It's good to have them because they can get you in the right direction. You are going to have trials and errors. You try things on your own and think they don't know what they are talking about. But they are always right. If you have a good mentor, you are going to be all right."