Finney is truly living the dream


B.J. Finney had been through the Pittsburgh airport once previously, a couple of seasons back when his Kansas State Wildcats flew in to play at West Virginia.

This time, he made certain to commemorate the occasion.

"I took a picture with Franco Harris' statue," Finney proudly reported upon completion of the first practice of Rookie Minicamp. "That was Item No. 1 on the list, so I did it and I sent it to my family.

"I'm loving it here."

Finney's arrival this most recent time was preceded by an emotional video posted online by the Wichita Eagle that chronicled the 6-foot-4, 318-pound center's reaction to getting the word that the Steelers were bringing him in as an undrafted free agent.

"Growing up (in Andale, Kan.), watching football with my dad, it was always the Steelers on Sundays, Black & Gold, no other option," Finney explained. "We don't have a tie to Pennsylvania. He just watched the 1970s dynasty and fell in love with them and that's the way I grew up. I fell in love watching this franchise.

"My dad passed away 10 years ago, and that weekend (when the draft was held and then free-agent rookies were signed) I got to meet the little girl who was the last life he saved; he was a paramedic. So it was a highly-charged, emotional weekend. And just the opportunity to play for the franchise that I love and grew up dreaming about playing for meant the world for me and my family.

"I was highly emotional."

In the video Finney characterizes his opportunity with the Steelers as "proof that dreams do come true."

It's apparently a popular sentiment.

"I think we're at 406,000 views as of (Friday) morning," he said. "My mom sent me an update."

Finney, initially a walk-on at Kansas State, started one game at right guard as a redshirt freshman in 2011 and then the next 51 in a row at center.

But prior to that, his heroes had always been Steelers.

"James Farrior, Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu, Joey Porter, James Harrison, Casey Hampton, Alan Faneca, Hines Ward, all those guys," he said. "Being a little kid you just aspire to be those guys."

Now, he's following in their footsteps.

"I loved it out here, I absolutely loved it," Finney insisted after his first day on the job. "We were going through individual (drills) and I was thinking about what coach was saying and I was looking over his shoulder and I saw the emblem on one of my teammates' helmets and I was like, 'I'm playing for Pittsburgh, I'm living my dream.'

"That's when it really kicked in."

As much fun as he's having, Finney has plans beyond enjoying a fantasy camp-like experience for as long as it lasts.

"I want to be successful on the NFL level by commitment, hard work and dedication to the game and by wanting to succeed at the highest level of the game," he said.

"And, hopefully, win another Super Bowl."

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