For those who wore the black and gold, it will always be special. It’s something they hold in their hearts forever, knowing that it was a unique experience that they couldn’t replicate anywhere else.
Some Steelers legends shared why they loved playing for the Steelers, and what made the organization so special.
“It’s hard to put that into words. There are so many different meanings. I will take you to the first time I got the opportunity to put the helmet on. I came in and it was minicamp. I got the chance to put the helmet on and I thought I am representing all of the players that have worn this helmet, have worn this logo before me. It was a proud moment for me to now have the opportunity to represent the Pittsburgh Steelers. That meant a lot. I did not like the Pittsburgh Steelers as a kid. The fact that I was putting on this helmet, and the history that went with this helmet, it was significant. Then to don the jersey and go out and play in a football game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it made you appreciate so much. You appreciate the fans, the organization.
“It’s more than just you playing a football game. It’s about years and years of tradition, years and years of fan loyalty that comes with it. There is so much that is involved in it, but once you put that helmet on, hit the field, you understand and appreciate it that much more. Now that I am removed from the game it’s that much more important to have played for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You understand what the helmet, what the organization stands for. It stands for respect, success and integrity. All of those things you look at and love about the game, you really appreciate having been a Pittsburgh Steeler.”
“There is nothing like Sunday morning here. You can just feel it. You can smell it. You can’t get to the locker room fast enough to put your helmet on and run out onto the field and see the fans waving the Terrible Towels. It’s a special feeling. I get goose bumps just thinking about it, how special it was. It was an experience. There are 32 teams in this league and I can’t imagine a greater feeling running out of the tunnel than here. Being here was special.
“Being a part of this town. It’s like a little fish bowl. Everybody knows who you are. It’s a hard working town. It rubs off on us, the players. You want to go out and give them everything you’ve got. When I left it was like, man, you didn’t understand how special it was. A lot of the players who leave, you always come back because it’s a feeling that can’t be duplicated anywhere else.”
“Being an NFL player you understand tradition and legacy. I didn’t know as much about it before I got to Pittsburgh, but it was easy for to tell and learn the history and be around a lot of legendary players. It gave me a feeling of pride to be a part of this organization, one of the best organizations in sports period. To be a part of that legacy is such an honor.”
“Just being drafted by them in 1998, knowing the opportunity. I knew I was going to give it my all. I didn’t get drafted high, but I knew I would give it all I’ve got, especially going to an organization like the Steelers. They were already Super Bowl champs in the 1970s. It was big for me, especially in Hawaii where there are a lot of Steelers fans. It meant a lot to me.”
“It means everything. I don’t think I would be who I am today, I don’t think I would have accomplished what I have without the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was the friendships I created here, the lessons I learned here. You think about the stability here. You think about the principles of the Steelers. Those are unmatched in the NFL. When you are here for 11 years that becomes who you are.”
“I played for some top organizations, but to me personally, none are like the Steelers. You can go anywhere in the world and the Steelers emblem is like no other.”