By Teresa Varley
It's not often athletes get the chance to play for their hometown team but sixth-round draft pick Ryan Mundy has that opportunity staring him right in the face.
Mundy is from Pittsburgh and played at Woodland Hills High School. He then headed to Michigan where he played three seasons before transferring to West Virginia for his final year of eligibility.
And now, he is back home and couldn't be happier.
"Oh man, it is crazy and I have definitely come full circle," said Mundy, the 6-1, 205 pound safety. "This is a very exciting time for me and my family right now. I couldn't really ask for a better place than to come back home and play for the hometown Steelers."
Mundy was a player the Steelers had on their radar leading up to the draft, something that did take him by surprise at first.
"I knew that the Steelers were interested in me when they came down to my pro day," said Mundy. "They really took me by surprise because I really didn't hear too much about them prior to my pro day. After my pro day they had me up there for a visit. I knew that there was some interest there from the organization. I was just hoping that it would work out and fortunately it did."
This isn't the first time that Mundy had the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd. He could have attended the University of Pittsburgh, but his mother thought it would be best for him to branch out so he headed to Michigan.
"I easily could have stayed at home and gone to Pitt and stayed in a comfort zone but my mother really pushed me to get out of the city and get out on my own and see things for myself and that really helped me mature with the situations that I have been through," said Mundy. "Like I said it is full circle now; I am coming back home and it feels good."
After playing three seasons at Michigan, in addition to a redshirt junior year, Mundy needed a change. He made a move that got him a bit closer to home and turned out great for him.
"I just needed a fresh start and West Virginia provided that opportunity to me," said Mundy. "I could have stayed at Michigan but I felt like the opportunity came for me to go to West Virginia so I said to myself 'sometimes in life you have to take risks.' This was definitely one risk that I took that worked out in my favor."
Another risk Mundy took along the way was wavering in his loyalty to the Steelers. Mundy watched the team growing up, enjoying seeing players like Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene excel on defense. But, he did have one moment where he slipped up.
"The funny thing is a lot of people in my family give me flack because when the Steelers went to Super Bowl XXX against the Cowboys I was actually rooting for the Cowboys because I was the ultimate Deion Sanders fan," admitted Mundy. "Wherever Deion was, that was who I was rooting for."