By Jamie Swimmer
Steelers' players teamed up with Urban Impact to put on a football clinic for young kids at Oliver Citywide Academy on Tuesday, the 15th year the clinic was held.
More than 350 kids took part in the clinic, learning not just football skills but life-lessons from the players.
Center Maurkice Pouncey, who made his sixth appearance at the clinic, addressed the kids at the beginning before the fun began.
"It's great to see the smiles on these kids' faces," said Pouncey. "To give back to Pittsburgh where we play is great and I know the guys always enjoy it, the kids do as well."
A total of 29 players were on hand, including all of the team's rookies, and they were eager to put the kids through a series of receiving, tackling, rushing and blocking drills.
"This is our third interaction with the community," said rookie cornerback Artie Burns. "I'm all for it. We come out to see the kids and you don't know how big of an impact that could have."
Steelers players work with local youth at the annual Urban Impact football clinic.
Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski takes pride in giving back to his hometown, and has challenged the rookies to stay involved in all the events the team does.
"I think the Steelers do a great job of getting the young guys out in the community," said Gradkowski. "We all realize that we are really fortunate to be where we're at, and if we can use that in a positive way to impact the community, that's huge and it's rewarding for us."
Rev. Dr. Ed Glover, President and Founder of Urban Impact, which aims to help the lives of at-risk children, has immense gratitude for the Steelers' involvement over the past 15 years.
"What happens is that the players become role models for sure, but they become surrogate uncles and big brothers. It's amazing," said Glover. "We touch 1,700 kids, but there's still 10,000 on the North Side. I want to continue to reach more and more children, and I hope the Steelers will continue to help us."