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Leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft, current and former Steelers’ players will be sharing their Draft Day Memories. In this installment, Terry Bradshaw talked to me about what draft day was like for him in 1970, and the one thing he wanted to be doing that day.
First-round pick T.J. Watt on joining his brothers, Texans’ J.J. Watt and Chargers’ Derek Watt, in the NFL:
“I think it was definitely a dream, but it was never one we thought would be reached. As we grew older and we saw J.J. do it, it became more of an expectation almost. Because you see how much hard work is put into it and you realize a kid from Pewaukee (Wisconsin) can make it. I see the work and I know what it takes, that’s why I take this so seriously day after day. And I just take it one day at a time. It’s great to be here, but I’m not satisfied at all to just be here. I’m chasing greatness, and that’s what I’m here for.”
“I am a lunch pail kind of guy who yeah, I just got picked in the first round, but I am here to prove that I am worth that pick and Pittsburgh Steelers jersey china and I am worth much more than that as well,” said T.J. Watt, shortly after arriving at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “I think some things come easy for me, like the transition over to defense. It came naturally to me, but at the same time there was so much work behind the scenes that no one ever saw. That’s what it’s so hard to put it into words. It is a lot of God-given ability, but it is so much work that no one will ever see.
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He also referred to the ‘coin flip’ between the Steelers and the Chicago Bears, who both had 1-13 records the previous year. The winner of it would get the first overall pick in the draft. Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney allowed the Bears to make the call, and they said heads. When it came up tails, the Steelers were able to select Bradshaw.
As the Steelers are set to embark on the 2016 season, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw weighed in on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in this exclusive interview. Bradshaw ranked Roethlisberger at the top of all quarterbacks in the league, and explains why the Steelers’ signal caller is such a special player.
My question is something that has been bothering me for some time. Looking over the NFL draft in 1983, why did the Steelers pass on Dan Marino? The defense was in good shape, and Terry Bradshaw was retired. The Steelers really needed a quarterback at that time, and they knew Dan from the workouts at Pitt. With Dan Marino the Steelers could possibly have won a couple of more Super Bowls.
It’s a trip he hasn’t made often, coming back to Pittsburgh to be around his former teammates, to talk about the great times with the Steelers. But when Terry Bradshaw, the Steelers’ four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback returned to Pittsburgh recently, he realized it’s a trip that has been too long in the making.
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“He told me it was draft day and he heard from the Bears. I told him I wasn’t going until the third or fourth round. He told me you get out and you clean up. I was mad. I went and put on a jacket and tie for my dad. And then I got drafted number one.
“It didn’t mean that much. I was coming here to the worst team in the NFL, which wasn’t good.
“Like a lot of players we are looked at so often. The Saints spent so much time with me. Their whole coaching staff would come to Tech and watch me practice and to games. You are naive enough to think nobody else is coming and watching. You think they are the only ones that care anything about me.
Stallworth was a part of a legendary draft class that included receiver Lynn Swann, center Mike Webster and linebacker Jack Lambert, all who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Stallworth. But for Stallworth, being drafted with Swann made him a little nervous at first.
Joe Greene had quite the lineup around him during his playing days in the 1970s, including Hall of Fame linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. But there is one linebacker he would have liked to have had the opportunity to play with.