CHICAGO – Right around 9:30 p.m. (CT) on Thursday night, the Steelers selection of OLB Bud Dupree was announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.
Only time will tell how impactful the selection of Dupree will be for the Steelers on the field, but for Steelers Nation Unite member Alicen Yonts, Thursday night's first round is already historical in her mind.
"The entire trip and this whole experience has been beyond anything I could have ever imagined," said Yonts on Friday morning.
The winner of the team's 2015 NFL Draft Experience sweepstakes, Yonts walked on stage with Dupree's jersey in hand to give to Commissioner Goodell, which he then presented to the newest Steeler. Needless to say, Yonts was filled with anticipation and excitement for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"The energy that was in that building was just incredible," Yonts said. "Standing backstage and having that jersey on my arm and waiting to be queued to go shake the Commissioner's hand was fantastic. And then standing there and looking out into the crowd and seeing Terrible Towels waving was great."
Steelers Nation Unite Member Alicen Yonts delivered the jersey for first-round selection Bud Dupree to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage at the 2015 NFL Draft.
Yonts and her husband, Matt, began the day with an NFL Legends Draft Luncheon with a number of former NFL players in attendance. Following lunch, the couple attended a rehearsal of the night's events, and received a photo opportunity with Commissioner Goodell as they displayed Alicen's customized "Draft Day" Steelers jersey.
In the evening, Yonts was part of the Draft kickoff ceremonies as she walked the Gold Carpet and displayed the Steelers official New Era Draft Cap. From there, she proceeded into the Auditorium where she prepared for her moment in the NFL Draft spotlight.
"A lot of people were asking if we were nervous. I kept saying 'Absolutely not.' There was nothing to be nervous about," said Yonts. "This is just pure excitement and adrenaline. We're welcoming a new member of the Steelers and everything was just so exciting. It was just great."
And while Yonts may have had the most exclusive experience of the night, other Steelers Nation Unite members benefitted as well. For being a member and stopping by the Steelers Team House in Draft Town, Brian Cox received a pair of passes to Selection Square where he watched the entire first round. As luck would have it, Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams was at Selection Square in Chicago last night and stopped for a photo with Cox.
Fans who showed up at the Steelers Team House were also treated to a special surprise as four-time Super Bowl Champion Mel Blount was on-hand signing autographs and talking with Steelers fans, adding to the excitement in Chicago.
The focus for fans and Steelers Nation Unite members shifts to Heinz Field on Saturday for the team's Fan Blitz, presented by Xfinity. Steelers Nation Unite members who Check In at Fan Blitz using the Steelers mobile app may get an exclusive experience of their own, as one member will be selected to announce a Steelers draft pick live on NFL Network from Heinz Field.
It's just another example of how being a member of Steelers Nation Unite provides year-round benefits.
To join Steelers Nation Unite and be officially recognized as a member of Steelers Nation, visit http://steelersnationunite.com/ or the 'Steelers Nation Unite' page on the Steelers mobile app. Joining is free, quick and easy and only requires an email address and a password to sign up.
Stay up to date with the NFL Draft experiences taking place in Chicago and Pittsburgh by visiting http://steelersnationunite.com/2015draft.html. Also, fans and members can share their NFL Draft photos using #SNUDraft on Twitter or Facebook all weekend long.