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Steelers Matt Spaeth is tough, that's why he has his job

The blue-collar Minnesota native feels his desire to "mix it up" in the trenches is the reason he's still employed in the NFL. He gives credit for his willingness to do that from his father, the owner of a construction company.

Jared Wickerham

Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth hated working for his dad growing up.

The owner of a Masonry company in St. Michael, Minn., a smallish town northwest of Minneapolis, Ken Spaeth played football at Nebraska and with the Buffalo Bills for a short period. He would drag his sons with him to work whenever they weren't in school or practicing, Matt told Mike Max of CBS Minnesota.

"That's why I have a job, to be honest with you. I like that and I enjoy that, and the physical nature, and getting in and mixing it up and the grimey stuff - that's what I like. And I think that's why I've been able to last as long as I've had in the league. I'm willing and capable of doing it," he said.

The Spaeth family can be seen from time-to-time at the Steeler Fans of Minnesota viewing parties at McGovern's in St. Paul. Matt, at 6-foot-7, may be smaller than his father. He's very hard to miss.

By all accounts, they grew up Vikings fans, which isn't odd. They cheered for their son in his first stint with Pittsburgh, and judging by Spaeth's interview with CBS Minnesota, he's happy to be back.

"I love the city of Pittsburgh and playing for the Steelers. It's an incredible organization with a great fan base. And you know, I just like to tell people that I'm gonna go out, and no matter what I'm gonna give it all I got every time, and I'm gonna play hard and do the little things that hopefully help us win," he said.

Spaeth will face his boyhood team, Minnesota, for the second time as a Steeler in Week 4 as the Steelers and Vikings travel to London as part of the league's international series. Playing the last two seasons with Chicago, he had the chance to play in front of his hometown once each year - a win in 2011 followed by a loss last season.

The Steelers beat the Vikings in Pittsburgh in 2009, one of the few losses the Vikings would take that season. In all that time, during a career that has already outweighed the length expectancy of any NFL player, Spaeth hasn't lost sight of the simple fact he didn't just make it in the NFL, he's still going.

"It's been a whirlwind to think this is year seven for me. I was just talking to somebody else, I don't want to say this, but I'm coming up on 30 and to think I'll be 30 playing in the NFL is just amazing. It's been a dream come true," Spaeth said.