By Teresa Varley
Ernie Holmes was in Pittsburgh in November to serve as an honorary captain for the Steelers-Browns game at Heinz Field.
Holmes stopped by the team's practice facility the following day and took time to visit with some staff and tour the team's practice facility.
Holmes, who was living on a ranch in Wiergate , Texas, was serving as an ordained minister in that state.
After making his rounds Holmes sat down and shared his thoughts with me on a variety of topics for a Where Are They Now feature on Steelers.com.
The following is a portion of that interview.
What was it like to come back to Heinz Field and be an honorary captain for the game against the Browns?
It was a pleasure. After the coin toss they did this video and some fight music. The surge hit me and I wanted the shoulder pads and the cleats. I went to make a fast move and both knees started moving. I remember what Whitey Ford taught me, if you knees don't rattle they aren't any good. Mine didn't rattle so I figured it was best to walk off the field.
It was a pleasure being in front of that crowd. There was electricity that was flowing. It's something you don't get every day when you don't participate in sports.
There were Browns fans next to where I was sitting. I was having fun. As I left I let the Browns know my feelings as I hollered down to them one more time.
What was it like seeing the Terrible Towels waving, something that started when you were a player?
I was hoping to see Myron Cope. I didn't get a chance to see him. It was fun seeing that Towel waving. I did get to visit with Bill Nunn. We had some great on field and off field times that it was fun talking about.
What is the fondest memory from your playing career?
There were so many. To make it one would be hard. The appreciation I had for the Chief and the things he did for. I wanted to accomplish the goal of pleasing him and bring to atonement where he wanted the Steelers to be. I made a commitment to him and tried with all of my heart to do that.
What did you like most about playing for the Steelers?
It was the unity, the appreciation for each other. It was a family. Pittsburgh itself was a family. As a young player you don't see it, but you find out the entire area is a family. It's amazing what has been done to the city since I have been away. I get lost when I am in the downtown area now.
What was it like being a part of the Steel Curtain?
It was the camaraderie, it's the do-or-die situation. You might have some old guys, but the young guys today wouldn't be able to survive the duration of the game. The strategy might have changed, but the logistics haven't. You have to have people sacrifice to accomplish one goal.
What do you see Mike Tomlin bringing to the team?
I met him on the field. He has a peace about him, I like that. A person that has a peace is able to see the situation at hand and can find a solution. He has a subtle way of doing things. He is going to be good. He is the person we need to lead that team. He is able to listen to the history, see the future in front of him and capitalize and put it into effect on the field. I think it's going to be a continuation of the great Steelers tradition. I hope they continue to the playoffs and Super Bowl status. That is what The Chief would like.