First and foremost, thank you. The performance you gave the Pittsburgh Steelers in this postseason was more than this life-long fan could ever ask for from a person who had very little time to gel with Pittsburgh's first-team offense and even less experience in the NFL playoffs. The hard-fought effort you put on display both last week against the Cincinnati Bengals and this week against the Denver Broncos, the second and fourth ranked defenses in the league, was exciting to watch and inspirational to root for as the team earned its first postseason victory in the past five seasons.
While you may be down on yourself for the fumble you had, please do not feel as if any (reasonable) part of Steeler Nation places the entire weight of yesterday's tough loss on you. Mistakes happen from even the most legendary of players and this season you started to build on your legend as a professional football player in the country's most popular sports league.
Pittsburgh once watched one of its most glorified players to ever play running back, Jerome Bettis, fumble in the divisional round of the playoffs in two straight seasons. These things will happen, but so long as you work to be a consistent producer and are fortunate enough to get more opportunities to show who you are, moments like these will not define you.
While your performance against Cincinnati last week was great as a whole with over 100 yards from scrimmage, this one play was one of the best postseason receptions from a running back that this franchise has seen in recent memory. On a third down situation with an ailing quarterback and the team's backs up against the wall, you went out and made mid-air adjustments on a tough pass to make a great catch, get the first down and keep the team alive on its final drive to win a tough game in hostile territory.
This play has not gotten nearly enough recognition because media pundits would rather talk about the Bengals' crying over Joey Porter being on the field or trying to say that Ryan Shazier is dirty because he hits too hard, but your impressive determination to get the job done was not lost on this football fan. It was one of the biggest plays of the game and it will be cherished by Steelers fans for years to come when they remember how you fulfilled the role of "next man up" for Pittsburgh and got the job done.
When teams look at how you played in these games, they will notice your ability to run hard with the ball, and create space as a receiver without the ball. It is my belief that you will definitely get those opportunities to continue to show your value as a player in the NFL. While you may not be with the Pittsburgh Steelers for your entire career, your performance in these playoffs earned a fan here and probably several others from those who follow this team moving forward.
I will not act as if I have followed your talents all season on the practice squad and on the depth chart for the team, nor will I try to pretend to know what it is like to play on the high level that is the NFL and make a crucial a mistake. The weight has got to be heavy on you, but from this fan that has to do film room breakdowns of the Steelers every week and kept thinking your first name was Franklin for some reason, I think you will carry that weight and someday unload it when you make a big play on a big stage again like you did in Cincinnati and when you scored a touchdown against Denver.
A Steelers fan