Cornerback Deshea Townsend was looking for a unique event for his Pay It Forward Foundation so he decided to auction off helmets. But not just your regular black helmet with the Steelers logo on the side. Not even close.
Townsend hosted Deshea's Black & Gold Art Show featuring helmets that his teammates created a design concept for and local artists painted. The helmets were then autographed and auctioned off for the foundation.
"It's something different than the typical autographed jersey, t-shirts, things like that," said Townsend. "It's a unique way to give back, plus a way to give true Steelers fans something one-of-a-kind. Guys told the artist what they like, helped design what they wanted the helmets to look like."
Townsend's helmet featured a splash of colors, something that suited his taste in art.
"I like abstract art," said Townsend. "I said if I was doing it I would take it in the back yard and throw a lot of paint on it. The artist did that. It looked amazing. He added his touches to it. He made it look better than I would have."
Other helmet designs featured Santonio Holmes Super Bowl MVP, Hines Ward Helping Hands with Korean words, Ben Roethlisberger golf helmet and Dick LeBeau Blitz helmet with a headset.
Linebacker James Farrior also helped design a unique style featuring the skyline of Pittsburgh, New York and Miami, where he lives in the offseason.
"I came up with the idea to have the two cities I played in and the one I lived in," said Farrior. "It has the skyline and I am overlooking all of them. It's all for a great cause. Deshea is doing a great thing for the community. We always try to come out and support each other. It's a good cause. It's great for us to be involved."
The event benefitted the programs of Townsend's Pay It Forward Foundation, which includes football camps, an SAT and ACT program and health screening.
"We offer free screening for kids for glaucoma, diabetes, things like that at health fairs," said Townsend. "When I was a kid I never had a health screening. If we can help kids and adults get screened and prevent it before it happens, that is the main thing."
To view the complete photo gallery by Teresa Varley, please click on Black and Gold Art Sale and go to Events.