In less than two weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be knee-deep in the heat of training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. At BTSC, we will be posting breaking news as it happens. But in the meantime, there’s only so much one could write about what possibly could happen, what the major camp battles are, etc. So, I am following the fantasy route of who the Steelers would select if there was a draft of movie and television players. I tried to think of an actual draft and not pick all superstars. Sadly, just like exactly 50 years ago in camp, Al Bundy still didn’t make the team. Have fun with this in the comments, unless you hate the idea...don’t rain on our parade of fun and nonsense. While there is 0% validity to this whole exercise, it’s fun to imagine some of these guys vying for spots on the 53MR. Lets take a look.
WR Rod Tidwell - Arizona State/Arizona Cardinals
Played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in “Jerry McGuire” - 1996
The Steelers scored an epic talent by selecting the dynamic and extravagant Wide Receiver from Arizona State and the Cardinals. However, they also replaced the titanic ego of Antonio Brown with one very much the equal. On the field, Tidwell is quite possibly AB’s equivalent with similar numbers and should prosper with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback and new “minister of kwan”. Things should be fine initially, but it remains to be seen how the man that coined the phrase “show me the money” will fare at contract time and while sharing the spotlight with JuJu Smith-Schuster.
DE/LB Charles Jefferson - Ridgemont (HS) Wolves
Played by Forest Whitaker in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” - 1982
Charles Jefferson is a combination of Ryan Shazier’s speed, Levon Kirkland’s size and Greg Lloyd’s nastiness. The Ridgemont High star can go sideline-to-sideline to punish ball carriers, as well as penetrate past the highest quality of protectors to opposing quarterbacks. In the Homecoming showcase against California-prep rival Lincoln, Jefferson viciously and mercilessly punished the team that allegedly vandalized and destroyed his Camaro Z-28 a mere days before the contest. Jefferson was alleged to have accepted the car as a gift from boosters, thus causing this once-in-a-lifetime talent to slip to the Steelers in the second round.
DB Petey Jones - T.C. Williams (HS) Titans
Played by Donald Faison in “Remember The Titans” - 2000
Petey Jones was an important cog in the machine that was the newly-integrated T.C. Williams Titans in their epic Virginia State Championship victory for Coach Herman Boone. A running back that converted to the defensive backfield, the hard-hitting Jones has the ball skills as well to play both safety and corner for Pittsburgh.
Note: The character in the movie was a portrayal of the real-life Petey Jones who played fullback for that 1971 Titans team. Sadly, Jones passed away on July 1, 2019.
RB Julian Washington - Miami Sharks
Played by LL Cool J in “Any Given Sunday” - 1999
Washington is a very talented and physical rusher with All-Pro skills. But he has gained the reputation as a me-first mercenary (labeled that by Sharks Coach Tony D’Amato) that cares less about the concept of team and is more concerned about the prospect of getting paid. He did, however, exhibit timely selfless acts during Miami’s most re ent playoff run. After just enduring the Le’Veon Bell contract drama, Pittsburgh’s Washington could be a huge risk, even though his on-field play offers great reward.
TE Brian Murphy
Played by David Denman in “The Replacements” - 2000
The Tight End that matriculated at Gallaudet would have been a surefire first rounder had he not been born deaf. However Murphy, whose game resembles that of Travis Kelce, is an ideal receiver and blocker to take the reigns should Vance McDonald not resign with Pittsburgh. Expect Ben Roethlisberger to schedule offseason workouts with Murphy and take classes to learn sign language. This was a great value-pick.
T Bud Kaminski - ESU Timberwolves
Played by Abraham Benrubi in “The Program” - 2003
In this round, the Steelers select the man known as Bud-Lite from Eastern State University. Kaminski known for crooning “Git along, Little dogies” at the line was tasked with protecting the T-Wolves Heisman candidate, Joe Kane. At 6’7”, Kaminski is an imposing figure but needs to add to his 270 pounds. Bud may have to rope dogies on the practice squad if he can’t work his way past Jerald Hawkins at the Tackle position.
QB Stan Gable - Adams College
Played by Ted McGinley in “Revenge Of The Nerds” - 1984
Gable, the multiple-time All American from the Adams Atoms, has that perfect quarterback look and persona. However, he is just under 6’ and doesn’t possess the size that pro scouts crave, but neither did Drew Brees...a quarterback Stan has been often compared to. A campus and team leader at Adams, Gable ran into some on-campus housing problems and faced discipline. But if the new blonde bomber can turn some heads in Latrobe, he has the quality arm to make the 53.
Undrafted Free Agents
KR Forrest Gump - University of Alabama
Played by Tom Hanks in “Forrest Gump” - 1994
The Alabama enigma has extraordinary straight-line speed that dwarfs any time combine clocks have ever seen, However, the well-traveled All-American from Greenbow, Alabama could pretty much be considered a one-trick pony and could struggle at the higher levels. The emphasis on the kickoff is waning in the NFL, but Gump could provide short fields and electricity for the Steelers in the mean time.
CB Stefan Djordjavic - Ampipe (HS) Bulldogs
Played by Tom Cruise in “All The Right Moves” - 1983
The Steeltown kid from Ampipe, PA grew up with dreams of playing for the Steelers. The Cal Poly alum was an Academic All-American at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he played under his prep coach Burt Nickerson. The knock on Stef is his size and a tendency to let his temper get the best of him, but Nickerson found a way to reel the latter in during college. Djordjavic could be a Practice Squad player and would have to make his name on Special Teams. He surely has the heart and intensity to do so.
QB Reno Hightower - Taft (HS) Rockets
Played by Kurt Russell in “The Best Of Times” - 1986
Legend has it that Hightower threw seven touchdowns against Porterville, but the modest Taft QB disputes that number. In all actuality, Reno was one of the all-time great high school passers. With a livewire arm, Hightower has skill and a keen mind to match...but has a long road in a crowded quarterback room.
C Laikai Manumana - Texas State Armadillos
Played by Peter Tuiasosopo in “Necessary Roughness” - 1991
Legendary Armadillos play-by-play man, Chuck Neiderman, labeled the gentleman lineman from Texas State “Manumanu the Slender”. With great size and agility, the center cemented his legacy when he laid-out All-American Harlan “Flattop” Meyers of the then No. 1 Texas Colts freeing QB Paul Blake to throw the winning score in the epic upset to end their freshman season. Manumanu has a good shot at winning the backup job to Maurkice Pouncey.
RB James “Boobie” Miles - Permian (HS) Panthers
Played by Derek Luke in “Friday Night Lights” - 2004
Pre-knee injury, Miles echoed memories of Marcus Dupree as possibly the most sensational prep running back in history. But afterwards, the physical specimen known as “Boobie” could never get back on the gridiron. The confident Miles who once quipped, “You want to win, put Boobie in”, is hungry for a comeback and well worth the flier for the Steelers.
FB Tim Riggins - West Dillon (HS) Panthers
Played by Taylor Kitsch in “Friday Night Lights-TV” - 2006-2011
Riggins is a hard-scrabbled runner that can convert the hard yards for a first down or catch the ball well out of the backfield. Not afraid to play hurt, the Texas prep runner continually sacrificed his body for Coach Eric Taylor’s West Dillon Panthers. But he also sacrificed his freedom by taking the fall for his brother’s illegal chop shop, thus going to prison. Riggins is loyal, tough and passionate, but doesn’t always make the best decisions. With Rosie Nix fully in place at FB, Riggins shot to make the team is on Danny Smith Jr’s Special Teams unit.
K Landry Clarke - East Dillon (HS) Lions
Played by Jesse Plemons in “Friday Night Lights-TV” - 2006-2011
Kevin Colbert considered bringing in Nigel Gruff, the Welsh soccer player with the big leg, but concerns over his tendency to smoke cigarettes on the field and his having a troubling history with gambling and mobsters nixed that plan. Fast forward to the baby-faced, red-haired Texan whose worst transgression was taking part in a murder in high school to impress/defend a female classmate. Clarke, a two-time state champ for two separate programs, offers camp competition to fellow Texan Chris Boswell. Wow, where do they find these guys?
WR Charlie Tweeder - West Canaan (HS) Coyotes
Played by Scott Caan in “Varsity Blues” - 2000
Another Texas schoolboy, the 5’5” Tweeder makes up for his lack of size by playing (and living) with reckless abandon and speed. The Steelers have a crowded stable of wide receivers, but if Tweeder can outshine players of similar style like Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer, he could make the team. A huge concern for Mike Tomlin would be the fact that Charlie helped his high school teammates organize a coup against their legendary coach, Bud Kilmer.
TE Cheeseburger Eddy - Mean Machine
Played by Terry Crews in “The Longest Yard” - 2005
Little is known about Eddy’s background except for a long prison stint and his passion for the culinary delight known as the cheeseburger. However, Eddy has shown dual-threat ability for his position as both a blocker and a receiver, plus boasts an incredible physique. Eddy could add even more toughness and an intimidation factor to the Steelers on Special Teams and to a TE stable that doesn’t boast much depth. But he also could very well shank somebody.
RB Darnell Jefferson - ESU Timberwolves
Played by Omar Epps in “The Program” - 1993
Darnell Jefferson is a talented runner who is fleet of foot and catches the ball ably out of the backfield, but had trouble academically and holding onto the ball early in his collegiate career. Mike Tomlin has commented that every time he looks at Jefferson it feels like he’s looking in the mirror. It’s kind of scary.
So there you have it. We’ll see what happens and how this shakes out in Latrobe. Actually, we won’t. Remember this was merely a fun, fantasy piece. For those of you commenting on Facebook what a waste of time this was, remember...you clicked on it. And camp opens in less than two weeks.