My Super Bowl Journey: Sean McHugh
As the Steelers prepare to take on the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII, several players shared their "Super Bowl Journey" with Teresa Varley. The journey as to how they came to Pittsburgh, how they made it on the roster varies from player to player, but the ultimate dream remains the same – winning a Super Bowl Championship.
Tight end/fullback Sean McHugh signed with the Steelers in September after being released by the Detroit Lions the day after their final cuts. It is an amazing journey, being cut from a team that went 0-16 to playing for a team that is now in the Super Bowl.
McHugh didn't get a chance to make an impact right away, but down the stretch he was used as a blocking fullback for Willie Parker and it's a role that not only has he relished, but it also was a key for the ground game.
Below McHugh shares in his own words what brought him to Pittsburgh and what the journey to Super Bowl XLIII has been like for him.
I had been in Detroit for three previous seasons and made it through that final cut that happens in September this year. The day after final cuts, they called me in and released me. It's kind of the lowest point of emotions that you can have in a football career. I had been cut before, on the practice squad and off the practice squad, but that was really the lowest point because I felt like I truly didn't deserve to be cut then.
Then all of a sudden I got a call, an opportunity to come here. I made the trip here and was here for the first week and you flash forward a few months and we are getting ready to take a trip to Tampa for the Super Bowl. It's been an amazing turn of events.
Each week watching the Lions play part of you is excited that they are losing because you are kind of getting them back, but at the same time I still have a lot of good friends and teammates there. I went through that offseason program. I know those guys worked hard. No one deserves to have that kind of season. It was kind of mixed emotions. Part of me was smiling, you know saying that's what you guys get. Part of me, my heart went out to those guys who worked so hard and came up short.
I'll hopefully be able to send Matt Millen a big thank you letter. Those guys gave me an opportunity there and made me a better football player when I was there. The way it worked out for me is pretty special.
It's hard coming in when I did because those guys had already gone through camp. They've been on that field sweating and bleeding together. It makes it tough being on the outside at first. All you can do is come in here and work hard and try and earn their respect. This team is amazing the way they welcomed me and helped me out with different things. Now I actually feel like part of the Steelers. Initially the transition is difficult. You don't know anybody. You don't know the city. You don't know the coaching staff. So it takes some time, but an organization like the Steelers makes it a lot easier.
My role started off slow, but hat isn't anything I can control. All I can do is when I go out there, when they do give me a chance, is try to perform to the best of my ability. We're in the Super Bowl so I can't complain about the way it's gone and the situation there. All I can do is when I have an opportunity, make the most of it.
I really had no way to anticipate that things would end up the way they did here. For our team to be in this position right now is incredible. First your goal as a player is to make it to the playoffs and that's a big deal and now to be preparing to go down to Tampa for a chance at the Super Bowl Championship is just amazing.
Winning the AFC Championship game at Heinz Field was the most incredible part because I am not used to be around fans that are that dedicated and support the team like they do here. So that was pretty special to see. You know it really didn't sink in until the next morning kind of when you wake up and say, "Wow, we are going to the Super Bowl." It was a little surreal. It's something really neat to be a part of.
I got about 100 text messages from teammates and coaches to say congratulations and wish me the best.
I dreamt about playing in the Super Bowl as a kid. I think every kid does. Everyone dreams of that moment, standing on the field after an AFC or NFC Championship game and the week leading up to it and the preparation going into it, just a chance to be out there on the world's biggest stage. There is nothing more watched or people take more notice any time of year than the Super Bowl. So, it's pretty special.
My Super Bowl dream is to just to win it. It's that simple. Whatever my role is to be part of it, if it's one play or every play, whatever it is, but to just win it would be the ultimate. Just to walk away on that Monday in two weeks and be Super Bowl Champions. I can't think of anything better.