Pittsburgh's a perfect fit for Moore

It's a wait like no other.

College football players sit there watching television, their cell phone gripped in their hand as if their life depended on it. Waiting and waiting for it to ring. Every sound, every notification, their eyes darting to it.

But for two days, the call doesn't come, and the family gathered around try to offer support and encouragement as there is still another day of the NFL Draft still to come. It's words they appreciate, but not easy words to hear.

That was the case for Steelers fourth-round pick Dan Moore Jr., a tackle from Texas A&M. Moore wasn't certain where he would go in the NFL Draft, but he heard predictions that he could be a Day 2 selection, which included rounds two and three. So, he had some friends and family over on the second night of the draft, hoping to have a celebration. Instead, he had to wait a little while longer.

"Every year guys get their draft predictions, where they should go," said Moore. "Me being a guy who was expected to go on Day 2, I had some friends over, some family over on Friday night. When you don't get your name called, and you have people around you, regardless if they are trying to cheer you up, it still kind of gives you that feeling of embarrassment, humility a little bit. You still have to understand that regardless of the situation you get put in, you just have to make the most of it."

When the phone rang on Saturday, and on the other end was Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin, he definitely made the most of it.

"It was nice getting that phone call," said Moore. "Having the weight lifted off your shoulder. Celebrating the day with my family. I am ready to get to work now. Work hard and get ready for everything.

"That call is what made it all better, getting that call and having my family all around me as I am talking to the coaches. They are all grinning. My mom is crying, and she doesn't even know who I am on the phone with. I will never forget it.

"I am not really an emotional person. I didn't cry. My dad is similar to me. He was jumping and screaming like no other. He was crying before my mother and grandmother. I was clowning him afterwards about it."

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers fourth-round pick Dan Moore

With that all behind him, Moore is ready to immerse himself in Steelers football, everything from an introduction to the playbook during the team's rookie minicamp this weekend to getting a feel for Pittsburgh after living his entire life in Texas.

"I never lived outside of Texas," said Moore. "Born and raised in Beaumont, went to school in College Station. I am a Texas boy. Now I am going all the way to Pennsylvania. People keep saying I am going to have to get used to the cold. I am so used to the heat right now. It's going to be some change. I am glad I am going to move away, experience some new things.

"And it's a perfect fit in Pittsburgh for my mentality, blue-collar, which came from growing up and watching my parents work and sacrifice, the hardships they had to go through. It made me understand the true definition of sacrifice and devoting yourself to something. Also having the opportunity to do something I truly love. Not a lot of people get to do that. I have a gift and I don't want to waste that."

If there is anyone who understands the importance of not wasting an opportunity, it's Moore. He has seen his fair share of difficulty growing up, starting not long after his parents divorced.

In 2005, Hurricane Rita hit the South, with Moore's hometown of Beaumont, Texas seeing severe wind damage with buildings seeing major damage, 25% of the trees in the city uprooted and neighborhoods flooded.

"My mom struggled, hopping from job to job at first," said Moore. "We were hit with hurricane Rita when they first divorced. The house we were living in got damaged and needed a lot of work. I was in first grade, about seven years old. I had to spend my eighth birthday in Huntsville, Texas. We evacuated to my grandmother's friends' house. I call her my Aunt Pearl. We were there almost a month. I know my mom put me in school, a private school down the road that let me go free of charge. I just had to buy a couple of polo shirts. It was different. It was weird. Not understanding, for me it was like a vacation, but I didn't understand the stress they were going through, coming home to the damage. We got back in after the work was done. Other family had more damage. The city flooded. When we moved back, we had no power for about a week. We had generators. We had to boil our water. Our garage was flooded and lost a lot of stuff in there."

Not long after, in 2008, Hurricane Ike damaged a home the family was renting in the area. And shortly after he left for school at Texas A&M, Hurricane Harvey tore through Beaumont, devastating part of the area.

"Some things you can't control," said Moore. "Just control what you can."

It was the experiences he went through, taking responsibility early in life, that have shaped him, matured him and made him the person he is today.

"I do believe that is where that comes from," said Moore. "Having to grow up fast. I had to be the man of the house for my mom and my little sister, at least I felt that. That is where the mentality comes from. How my dad worked, learning from him. The good he taught me. Taking it all and being a better man.

"I have a younger sister. She is five years younger than me. Growing up I would help her get ready for school, make sure she was good when my grandmother got her because she would take us to school because my mother had to leave for work before we even got up some days. She wouldn't have time to do things for my little sister, so I would help her get ready for school, make sure she would eat. In the summer she would stay with me. I bonded with her and we drew close."

Moore is now ready for that next step in his growth. After he was drafted he posted a video of getting the call from Coach Tomlin, the draft announcement, and all of the excitement to the music of Nipsey Hussle, with the words … 'Hussle and Motivate … the marathon continues.'

"Those are two words that have gotten me through a lot of tough times," said Moore. "They are two words why I am where I am today. That is all I have known. Every day I wake up and try to hustle, my motivation to be better. I know there are people working as hard as me, so I have to outwork them. That is why I am where I am today."

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