Talking Steelers Football with Roy Jones, Jr.
Boxer Roy Jones, Jr., a huge Steelers fan, stopped by the team's practice facility recently to watch practice and had a chance to take a tour and meet some of the players.
Jones, who is training in nearby California, Pa., was excited to get the chance to be around the team he grew up watching and still continues to follow on a regular basis.
It was the second time in the last two years that Jones has come to watch the Steelers practice, and this time he took time out to talk with Teresa Varley for Talking Steelers Football.
How did you become a Steelers fan?
Way back in the day when Franco Harris and Lynn Swann were on the team. As a kid I knew who they were. Everybody around where I was liked Dallas. I liked (Terry) Bradshaw, Swann, all of those guys. My godmother asked me who was my favorite team and I didn't have one then. She wanted to send me a belt buckle for Christmas. I was like, I like Pittsburgh's colors better so send me one of theirs. Since that day I was a Steelers fan.
What are some of your favorite Steelers memories early on?
Watching Franco Harris pile through people all of the time. I was really impressed with him. You never thought as big as he was and as strong he could be that fast. Those days were my earliest memories.
*How closely are you able to follow the Steelers now? *Very closely, as closely as I could follow them back when I was younger. I come up here and train and get to watch them all of the time, every weekend. I love it. I train in California, Pa. and the Steelers are relatively close. I like it because I can train close to where they are, plus I get to go to a game every now and then. Plus, me and Mewelde Moore know each other. I was training in New Orleans at Tulane and he was there. When I saw him here he said we have history together. When he signed with the Steelers I was pumped.
*Is there a current Steelers player you enjoy watching, a guy whose game you respect? *All of them. Hines Ward is one of my favorites because of his mental toughness. Hines is the toughest wide receiver. They don't get any tougher. Coach (Mike) Tomlin because of the tough situation he was put in with a lot of pressure on him. Him being able to take the job and do what he did proved a lot. He came in and did what he knew how to do. Hines is the guy who goes out there and does it, puts his life on the line for the team. But I respect all of them because I know what it takes to go out there and do it.
Did you get to watch Super Bowl XLIII?
I sure did. I knew they were going to win it. I was more impressed when they won Super Bowl XL because no one expected it. The defense was too strong for Arizona. Every one questioned if Big Ben (Roethlisberger) could do it the first time, but I knew they would.
What are your thoughts on what Mike Tomlin has brought to this team?
He has done a great job. He made them a well-rounded team. This is a tough team overall and he had brought that. Big Ben got hurt in a motorcycle accident and not long after is back on the field. That is toughness. That is Roy Jones. That is Pittsburgh. That is what I respect. That is how you do it. Big Ben gets hurt, Hines gets hurt, Troy (Polamalu) gets hurt, and they are back on the field helping the team as soon as possible.
Troy is one of the toughest football players pound for pound I have ever seen in my life. I was at the Titans game and Troy tackled Chris Johnson in the open field by himself, one-on-one, before he got hurt. He is one of the best defensive players ever to play the game.
What was it like to take a tour and get to see the Steelers facility and watch them practice?
It's great. To come here and see the players, get to meet the guys, see how big they really are. You can tell how tall they really are and stuff like that. It's great to get to know the guys.
When you hear the name Steelers, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
Hard nosed. They are workers.
What current Steelers player would you like to have as a sparring partner?
Polamalu or Ward because they aren't going to give up, they are going to take more than most people.
What current Steelers player would you not like to face in ring?
There is no player I wouldn't want to face in the ring. That is my home. I wouldn't want to face any of them on the field, though.
*Which current Steelers player do you think could deliver the best knockout punch? *Once again it would be Hines and Troy. Ben with his height should be able to deliver that kind of punch.