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Father's Day is every day for Sheldon & Cody White

Whenever Steelers director of pro scouting Sheldon White is having a tough day, he has a video clip he pops onto the big screen that adorns his office at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

The video, shot at training camp at Saint Vincent College in 2022, shows one of the team's wide receivers reaching far over his head and behind him as his body contorts horizontally to haul in a pass, making an otherworldly catch.

And White watches that video and it brings a smile to his face.

There might be one Father's Day each year, but nearly every day is Father's Day for Sheldon White.

No, the video is not of Steelers wide receiver George Pickens, who has made highlight catches such as the one described. This catch was made by second-year wide receiver Cody White.

That feeling that Sheldon White gets when he watches that video isn't that of a scout who realizes he's hit on a player. The feeling Sheldon White gets when he watches that video is one of a proud father.

Sheldon White, hired by the Steelers last year, just happens to be the father of Steelers wide receiver Cody White, who has been with the Steelers since 2020 as a member of the team's practice squad and occasional game-day call up.

"The catch in training camp when he reached back and grabbed it out of nowhere? It's just another moment I was blessed enough to be there because I'm working there to see it," said Sheldon White. "As a dad, it's something you keep for your own. If I'm having a bad day or need a little break, I save that. You don't miss the moments. Enjoy it all. He's been blessed enough to find a value for Coach (Mike) Tomlin for three years. That's the way I look at it."

It's an interesting dynamic.

A former NFL player himself, Sheldon White spent six years as a defensive back for the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Detroit Lions.

When his playing career ended, he spurned other job opportunities to try to pursue a career in football, which landed him a job as a scout with the Lions in 1997.

Eventually, Sheldon White rose to interim general manager of the team in 2015, when Cody was a junior in high school at Walled Lake Western High School.

Cody White would go on to win Michigan's Mr. Football Award in 2016, beating out the likes of current Browns receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones and 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas, among others, before choosing to play his college football at Michigan State.

As luck would have it, after serving as a consultant for Michigan State in 2016 while looking for a job when his stint with the Lions ended, Sheldon White was hired by the Spartans to be the program's executive director of player personnel and recruiting, much the same way things happened for him with the Steelers.

Cody was already in place and Sheldon happened to follow him.

"I just keep getting my dad jobs, keeping him in it," Cody White joked.

All kidding aside, when Sheldon White was hired last year, after spending the 2021 season as a scout for the Washington Commanders, some people knew he was joining his son with the Steelers. Others, including many of Cody White's teammates, did not.

"Some guys come up to me, like last year, guys came up to me in Week 16 and were like, 'Man, I didn't even know that was your dad.' It's crazy," Cody White said. "It's because we do not communicate in the building. You would never even know. Some people figure it out right away, some other people just didn't know."

The father and son sever their family ties at the door of the Steelers offices.

"We make sure we keep it separate," Sheldon White said. "I'm not a helicopter (parent) at all. I asked him, where are you living, so I can live somewhere else?"

That doesn't mean he doesn't relish the moments – like that training camp video that brightens his day when he needs it. Or, taking the time for father-son dinners each week.

"I'll see him sometimes when I'm grabbing lunch, but other than that, we see each other more outside the building than inside the building to be honest," Cody White said. "We're on different paths. He's doing his thing. I'm doing mine. It's still a cool dynamic, though.

"Thursday or Fridays, we'll pick one day and go get dinner. We'll catch up on the week. It's good to have family around, always."

Sheldon White cherishes every moment.

Though he keeps his proud father persona inside most of the time, he does allow himself to bask in it all at times.

"Every moment is a special moment," Sheldon White said. "I was able to do that at Michigan State. I look at college and pro football as bonus for any parent. I always tell people (at the high school level), 'Everybody just stop. You're missing the moment. Your kid is probably going to be playing just a little longer and you're missing the moment. If he plays in college, that's bonus.' This is a double bonus. Being able to be that close is special."

And if Cody has a tough day, his dad is there to remind him of just that point.

Cody White's journey has been one that's common for players trying to stick in the NFL.

After catching 143 passes for nearly 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns in just three seasons, he declared for the NFL, but went undrafted, instead signing with the Kansas City Chiefs.

In a span of just a few months, he would go from the Chiefs to the Giants to the Broncos before being waived and then picked up by the Steelers a month after being released by Denver in final roster cut downs.

He's been with the Steelers since, mostly on the practice squad, but seeing action in 16 games over the past two seasons, including making one start, that coming last season in Indianapolis for a Monday night game. His stats – six receptions for for 35 yards – aren't going to impress anyone on first glance, but Cody White is a tenacious special teams player.

And he's constantly working before and after practice to improve his game.

"You get in the NFL and it's really hard now," Sheldon White said. "He's in the biggest battles of his life from that perspective, trying to make the team and be around it and play and get a chance. We're in Indianapolis and I told him, 'You might not think about this now, but when you're done, you started a game on Monday Night Football.' That's pretty cool. The average is three years. You're in Year 3."

The key is doing the little things.

And Cody White is all about doing that. It's a work ethic he got from Sheldon and his wife, Amy.

He also had the privilege of growing up around the game when Sheldon worked for the Lions.

"I take it from him," Cody White said of his work ethic. "But it comes from him and just being around football. Growing up, I was around some of the greats, watching Calvin Johnson, watching Nate Burleson, dudes like that. I got to see their work ethic, how they go about it. Seeing the guys that stick, how they do it. Seeing guys who are good but don't stick, seeing how they do it. You just pick up on things in football because of him, because I have been around it."

He uses that understanding of what it takes to always be in the right place at the right time, whether it be when he's playing offense or on special teams. He also knows that a big part of his job is making sure the Steelers defensive backs get a good look when he's practicing on the scout team.

And if he has a tough day?

"He just always, it's rare, but say I have a bad practice, he'll just keep bringing it up, 'Hey, you were Mr. Football. You can play, too,'" Cody White said of his dad.

"Just knowing somebody who knows, it gives that confidence. Everybody here can play. But you've got to have that confidence. Having that confidence and having him keep that in me, because he knows what the greats look like. He keeps that confidence in me, that's huge."

It doesn't hurt when Cody White makes plays like the one Sheldon White plays back so often in his office.

Just thinking about it brings a smile to Sheldon White's face.

Having the ability to do that, in turn, makes Cody White happy.

"He always talks about that catch," Cody White said. "Anything that can bring joy, him being able watch me, normal parents, they only get to watch on game day. But he's able to watch me in practice, watch me throughout the day. It's just cool to have him around."