By Teresa Varley
Steelers Style 2008 brought football and fashion together at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel at the team's annual fashion show.
Players and their families modeled fashions from Reebok, Nordstrom and American Eagle in a show filled with plenty of energy and excitement.
Jeff Reed and James Farrior served as the honorary co-captains and got the crowd going in the opening jersey scene where players are able to choose their own songs. Songs selected ranged from Just the Two of Us for Mewelde Moore, who did the scene with his daughter Jalyn, to Sweet Home Alabama for Anthony Madison and (I've Had) The Time of My Life for Scott Paxson, who ignited the crowd with his dance moves.
"Everyone picks their own song and that's fun," said Reed, who walked out to In the Ayer by Flo Rida. "We have a bunch of clowns on this team. It's a good thing. It's for a great cause. You can see what's on guy's minds, not about fashion, but about being a fool. You hope the people that paid to see us are having fun. I think a lot of it is fun."
Art and Greta Rooney and Mike and Kiya Tomlin, who designed a Steelers-themed gown that was modeled in the show, served as the chairpersons for the event. The show benefitted the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Cancer Caring Center.
"It's fun for me because I get the sense the players really enjoy it," said Greta Rooney "They choose their own music, wear their own suit. It's their style. They can be themselves. I also see how happy the audience is. It's great to take it to another level each year."
The theme of this year's show was Steelers Pride Worldwide and recognized doctors from UPMC as well as a salute to Steelers fans in every corner of the world, including those in the Hilton ballroom as players handed them Terrible Towels, roses and running back Willie Parker even took off his sweatshirt and gave it to a stunned but excited guest.
Safety Ryan Clark let his wife Yonka and kid's Jayden, Jordan and Loghan take the spotlight when they hit the runway, and they certainly lit it up in their formalwear.
"That is the good part about it," said Clark. "My family loves it. My wife was excited. My son and daughters got to dress up. To get your family out and for all of the guys to get their families together it's a cool deal.
"It's fun to watch the young guys. They do the silly stuff. To see the young guys with their jeans tucked into the socks and their tuxedos not buttoned is pretty cool. The older guys walk down and let our families steal the show."
Even though he let his family shine, Clark is no fashion wallflower.
"I step out in style every week," said a smiling Clark. "For me it's just another day. Some of these guys had to go out and buy things and get ready for this event. I just walked up to the closet, closed my eyes and grabbed something."
Defensive end Chris Hoke might not be a fashion icon, more comfortable in jeans than designer dudes, but he still had a good time taking part with his wife Jamiee and kids Cade, Nate, Chloee and Lincoln.
"The kids love it," said Hoke. "The two older boys counted down the days because it's fun for them to walk out on the stage and wave to everybody. It's their time to shine. They go out there with the music playing and dance around. It was a lot of fun for them."