As the Steelers prepare to take on the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV, several players shared their "Super Bowl Journey" with Teresa Varley.
The journey varies from how some of them came to Pittsburgh, the ups and downs in their careers and more, but the ultimate dream remains the same – winning a Super Bowl Championship.
In this installment, wide receiver and returner Antwaan Randle El, who was drafted by the Steelers and played in Super Bowl XL before signing with the Washington Redskins and then returning to Pittsburgh this year, talks about coming back to the Steelers and the journey to Super Bowl XLV in his own words.
Missing Super Bowl XLIII wasn't as tough as people make it out to be. When I left and got to Washington the things I developed there, the relationships made me grow as a person. My faith was even tested a lot and that made me stronger.
It was tough. It was real tough because here I am rooting for the Steelers. This is where I got drafted, these are my guys, and this is the organization. Then we were playing Arizona and we have a lot of guys on that side with Wiz (Ken Whisenhunt) and them there. I was excited for them too. It was a good deal, but I am glad God blessed me to come back here and I am in the hunt again.
As a football player and a competitor it was somewhat tough watching, but not completely. Guys were out there making plays. Will Gay made a play and I was like who is he. But there were guys like Deshea (Townsend) and Hines (Ward) and Heath (Miller), guys I played with and to see James Harrison playing the way he did and what he came through, it was great to see that.
I watched the game on television at London Flectcher's house, a linebacker for the Redskins. It was a good time. I was cheering. When (Larry) Fitzgerald caught that ball I was like, 'oh, no.' But it was good seeing James Harrison make that play. It was awesome for a big stud guy like him. There is no question winning another Super Bowl is what I came back for. I always want to win. I want to go back to the Super Bowl. It has been big. To come back for this opportunity, we have to get this one.
This offseason when I signed it was like all right, let's get this done. I had a bunch of other teams, Baltimore, Indianapolis, New England, a bunch of other teams that were on the table but it was like this is going back home. I have history and good history. I didn't burn any bridges. I loved the people that were there. It was just good. It was a good fit. I prayed and asked God to lead me and I ended up back here.
Having the Steelers bring you back, we appreciate that and welcome that. The grass is not always greener on the other side. And the way we have come back and contributed, to see Bryant McFadden back here and Larry Foote, we are playing our roles. We are on different paths and in different roles but I enjoy it and make plays when I have a chance.
Getting to the Super Bowl we had some good playoff games. The AFC Championship game was awesome from the start to the finish, the ups and downs. It was 24-3 at the half. Even the lows in the second half we brought on ourselves and shouldn't have. When the clock started ticking down and we got the first down, it sealed the deal. I was like, good catch Antonio (Brown).
Post game was unreal. It was crazy. I have never been here when we won it at home. You celebrate with your fans and your teammates. When we were in Denver we celebrated as a team in the locker room, not even on the field. That was an awesome time. I went out to eat afterwards. I enjoyed every moment. You don't know when things will end due to injury or contract. You have to be able to enjoy the moment while you are in it and give credit where credit is due and keep moving on and be thankful for the opportunity you have.
I am really excited to be back here at the Super Bowl. My Super Bowl dream would be able to throw one, catch one and run one on a punt return. But I want to win. That is the most important part.