Talking Steelers Football with Geoff Jenkins
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins grew up in California, but he was a Steelers fan from a young age.
Jenkins started to follow the black and gold back when Lynn Swann was making acrobatic catches and the Steel Curtain defense was dominating.
Jenkins continues to follow the Steelers and his support of the black and gold has not waivered.
Jenkins took time out recently to talk with Teresa Varley for Talking Steelers Football.
You grew up in California, how did you become a Steelers fan?
My older brother Brett, who is four years older than me, was a big Steelers fan growing up and I just kind of followed his footsteps starting from the Terry Bradshaw era and all of those guys. I just kept with it. Now in this era there are guys like Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, who I met last year when we played the Pirates. I have been to a few practices. It's something I definitely follow and root them on.
What are some of your favorite Steelers memories?
I went to USC and I have always been a fan of Lynn Swann's and the catches he made were awesome. The four Super Bowls during the Bradshaw era those were big memories. I was a big fan The Bus and watching him roll over people. Watching him go out and get his title was great. There are a lot of great memories and it's hard to pick just one.
How closely are you able to follow the Steelers now?
With satellite now you are able to follow pretty closely. We all play fantasy football so we watch all of the games. I watch all of the games and follow them as close as I can.
Do you try to get any Steelers on your fantasy team?
You want to get who is warranted, but yeah I do. I have four leagues. I have Willie Parker on a couple of my teams, I have Ben Roethlisberger on one of my teams, Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward. They are scattered, but definitely have some Steelers in there, and have the Steelers defense on a couple of my teams too.
Is there a current Steelers player you enjoy watching, a guy whose game you respect?
There is no question Hines Ward. He epitomizes what the Steelers are. He is always out there having fun and has that smile on his face. He is a rough, tough guy but at the same time he is very professional. You can tell he is smooth at his position the way he runs his routes. He will go into traffic and make a catch. He is that guy when you need the first down to move the chains, you need that big touchdown, or you need somebody to catch the ball it's going to Hines.
What are your thoughts on what Mike Tomlin has brought to this team?
I think he has carried on the tradition. Bill Cowher was such a big idol there and did so many good things. They put out such a good brand of football for so many years. It was big shoes for him to fill. But he has come in and they haven't skipped a beat. If you ask him I am sure he would say there is always room for improvement in all areas. That's what any good coach would say. But I think he has done a tremendous job and has the respect of the players and that's all you can ask from any coach.
What do you expect from the team this season?
I expect them to win. I think they have as good a chance as anyone to win the division. It's a tough division, but I think they have a great shot. I think Ben came back and had a great year last year. With another year under Santonio's belt and bringing in Limas Sweed they are real athletic at wide out. With Rashard Mendenhall as a little one-two punch there with Willie Parker is going to be really good.
What current Steelers player would you like to have batting clean-up in your lineup? *He has to be athletic so it can't just be a big, strong lineman. I would want Willie Parker leading off. I would put Santonio in center field. Go with Heath Miller at clean up.
*Willie Parker has great speed heading to the end zone. How would that speed translate for him as a base stealer?
Football and baseball are two different gears. Football is a combination of power and speed at the same time. Baseball there are a lot of guys that are fast but they can't steal bases. I think there is a difference between the two. There are guys that don't have that top end speed but they know how to get a good jump so they are good base stealers. I think Willie would be good at it. He would have to be able to read a pitcher when you steal and all of that's stuff. It's definitely a different gear.
What would Ben Roethlisberger have a better chance of doing – throwing a guy out at second base from the catcher position or throwing a guy out at home plate from the outfield? *I would put him in as a catcher throwing people out. Either that or as a closer.
*What would make Ben a good closer?
You would have to think that your quarterback is the smartest guy on the field and has to run everything so I would put Ben in that closer role.