When a dream becomes reality

The smile is something that is going to be on Kevin Dotson's face for a long time.

And you can't blame him.

Just think about it for a minute. You are a young kid watching your favorite football team on television, dreaming someday that you will be that player out there on the field.

And then one day you get a phone call, and boom. That dream has come true.

That is life in a nutshell for Dotson.

Like so many kids, Dotson grew up a Steelers fan. He watched games on Sunday with his family in their Steelers cave, cheering on his favorite players. His dream was to play for the black and gold and that became a reality when he was selected by the team in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

"I couldn't even imagine it when I was talking on the phone with Coach (Mike) Tomlin," said Dotson, who has a twin brother, Kenny. "It's crazy. I have been thinking about it since I was five, that I want to play for the Steelers. Now I am doing it. Right now. This is really going through right now. They chose me out of all of the guards they could have chosen, they chose me, the team I always wanted to go to. It's a Godsend."

Dotson said he will never forget that phone call from Tomlin, looking at his phone and seeing the '412' number and realized it was actually happening.

"It went in slow motion for the next 20 minutes after the phone rang," said Dotson. "I had to calm myself a little bit, make sure I answered all of the questions. It was a great experience. I will never forget the call with Coach Tomlin. Being able to have that conversation with someone like that, someone I looked up to and hoped to be a part of it."

Dotson said the memories of watching the Steelers is something that is always with him. His favorite player of all-time was Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, and even had Bettis' No. 36 at the end of all of his passwords. When Bettis saw that on Twitter, he reached out to Dotson telling him he can't wait to meet him.

"It's ridiculous I get to meet a legend," said Dotson. "He is a living legend and I get to meet him, and he wants to meet me. A lot of people don't get that opportunity."

And there are so many games he remembers, but one game really sticks out in his mind was Super Bowl XLIII, when the 11-year took his love of the team to another level.

"My favorite memory was Super Bowl XLIII against the Cardinals," said Dotson. "I remember how hyped the game was for me. I don't think I sat down that entire game. It was the pick six that was the thing that just popped everything off for me. When James Harrison ran that long score back it was past hype. It was past being excited. My heart was truly racing. I didn't know what was going to happen next. I couldn't imagine why I felt like that. That heart rate going up was different than ever before. It was the day it pushed that old envelope of being a fan to a super fan."

It's being that 'super fan' that has had Steelers Nation already fall in love with Dotson. He is one of them, someone who grew up with a passion for the team. He just happens to now get to be the person they cheer for.

"The craziest thing is the way the fans have been, and I haven't even played yet," said Dotson. "I think that is the thing that draws them to me right now, me being a fan and getting to live the dream every fan wants to have. I am living it for them, and they give me the support for that.

"I have had such a boost of adrenaline from them. I can't wait until I get to play and officially say I am a Steeler. I knew the fans were great, but I didn't think they would be this ecstatic for me being drafted. I didn't have as much hype as I wanted going into the draft, but the way Steelers Nation has talked to me I feel like I am an All-Pro already and I haven't done anything. Having this support is a boost for my confidence.

"It's meant to be. I had it in the back of my head hoping it would happen, but I still couldn't believe it would. Then it happened. Now I am just living it. I can't describe how it is. It really is crazy."

Like every NFL player, Dotson doesn't know when he will be able to be with his teammates for in-person workouts. But he knows when it does happen, he is going to soak up every bit of information he can from the veterans.

"The thing I feel like I am really excited about is the amount of knowledge those guys have to be able to help me in my position," said Dotson. "Maurkice Pouncey has been in the league for a long time, he has been an All-Pro for so many years. Big Ben (Roethlisberger) knows so many defenses and he can teach me, and I can learn from everyone on the offensive line because they are all seasoned vets. That will help me in the long run."

In the meantime, though, he is going to keep on working while at home in Louisiana. A video that was shot of him pulling a Ford F-150 up an incline went viral.

"Being in this lockdown everything was closed down," said Dotson. "I had to find a way to get it. I have that want to. I didn't have the weights, so I needed something heavy to push and pull. I do a lot of training at a levee, incline type of workouts. There is a huge hill along the Mississippi River. It's steep. I do a lot of running, staying in shape. I do it when no one is there. I find a way to get it done."

The type of workouts he is doing now come as no surprise. It's the way he has always operated, bringing a tough, physical approach to the game.

"I think that is the thing I am known for, the Steelers are known for," said Dotson. "It's a perfect match. I like everything the Steelers bring to the table and I think they will like what I bring."

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