Wide receiver Randle El has always been committed to making a difference in the lives of youth and it didn't take him long to get back involved with the Pittsburgh community when he returned to the Steelers.
That is why he was honored at Western Pennsylvania Boys & Girls Club Gridiron Taste & Talent Dinner with their National Service to Youth Award, presented to a member of the community for their dedication to improving the lives of children in the area.
"He is the ideal ambassador for the Steelers," said Mike Hepler, President and CEO of the B&G Club of Western, Pa. "Fans can't wait until he steps on the field with his high energy, but off the field he's an asset to the Steelers organization and the community.
"To have a role model with such integrity, values and work ethic means the world to us. We can take our young people, put them in front of Antwaan and know he is going to impress upon them the important things they have to do in life to be successful and be a good person. He is a class act."
Randle El recently took part in Keep Gym in School, which stresses the importance of physical fitness. He went to Arsenal Middle School in Pittsburgh where he took kids through a series of physical activities, while offering them encouragement and support.
"Kids and giving back is my makeup," said Randle El. "My parents have always been involved in my life. Now you have kids that don't have parents and the Boys & Girls club comes in to play and helps the kids. It's another avenue to reach out to kids and encourage them to do what's right."
Through his EL Foundation, which stands for "Everlasting Love," Randle El reaches out to kids in many ways, focusing on building today's youth into tomorrow's leaders.
"We focus on inner city youth and the education of character," said Randle El. "The biggest thing is getting kids to understand what it means to be a man, walk with integrity, wear your clothes a certain way and what it means to be different. When we have camps, we have academies. We take them on the field and work them hard but then take them in the classroom and teach them about God and having great character and instill some good integrity."
Randle El, who is a father of five, understands that not all kids get that guidance from home and does whatever he can to give back.
"You normally get just football at camps," said Randle El. "That is cool, but somebody has to take time and teach and instruct and give them structure. Not just right and wrong, but how to become a man. It's a process becoming a man. We try to teach those things."