With today being Father’s Day, BTSC would like to honor all of the Dads of Steelers Nation and beyond with an Iron City. But since SB Nation won’t spring for it, the best I could do is run a special Dad’s Day edition of The More You Know.
It’s the offseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there are so many topics to talk and write about. Free agents, the coordinator conundrum, the next quarterback, the NFL Draft, signings, retirements and breaking news will all be covered here at BTSC. But who’s going to give you little-known-facts out of the 500 Level?
Luckily, your one-stop, and non-stop, shop for everything Steelers employs a Steelers fan that was allegedly dropped on his head as a one-year-old during the Immaculate Reception. Useless and somewhat fascinating facts are his forte. So, here we are with off-the-wall thoughts from the dark side of a black-and-gold brain that nobody asked for. But the joke’s on you as you’ll be telling your peeps something you read here later.
BTSC Steelers Jeopardy
(Answer at bottom of article)
Middle Name Madness - Joey Eugene Porter Sr. And Joey Eugene Porter Jr.
We love citing middle names of members of the Men of Steel here at Behind the Steel Curtain. In the past, we have cited Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, Patrick John Freiermuth and Najee Mzee Harris, but who else? Hence, the “More You Know Middle Name of the Week”. This week we feature a Steeler legend and his hopefully future legend of a son with a middle name that just doesn’t fit the Porters...Eugene.
This Week’s Birthdays of Steel
6/18 - Tom Clements (1963), Jack Robinson (1911), Lou Tepe (1930)
6/19 Jahine Arnold (1973), Dave Reavis (1950)
6/20 Len Dawson (1935), Fred McAfee (1968)
6/21 Gene Breen (1951), Tex Holcomb (1913), Buster Mott (1909), Erwin Williams (1947)
6/22 Paul Martha (1942), Mark Royals (1965), Mike Wagner (1949)
6/23 Marv Kellum (1952)
6/24 Mitch Berger (1972), Duval Love (1963),
6/25 Dan Turk (1962)
6/26 Jace Sternberger (1996), Michael Vick (1980)
A Football Legacy - Sheldon White and Cody White
Sheldon White played his college ball at Miami of Ohio before being drafted by the New York Football Giants in the third round of the 1988 NFL Draft. The cornerback also spent time in football locales such as Detroit and Cincinnati before retiring after six seasons and 11 career interceptions in the NFL. In 1997, Sheldon joined a former team of his as a scout and was promoted to director of pro personnel in 2000 and then to vice president of pro personnel in 2009 in Detroit. After a stint as the Lions’ interim general manager in 2015, Sheldon White he served as the executive director of player personnel and recruiting for Michigan State Spartans football team, then as a scout for the Washington Football Team in 2021 before landing in Pittsburgh as the Steelers’ director of pro scouting in 2022.
In the Steel City, White joined Michigan State alumnus and son, Cody White, who is entering his fourth season as a member of the Steelers’ organization.
Blues Black & Golds - Carnell and Quentin Lake
Carnell Lake is an all-time Steelers great at defensive back, but he was a linebacker at UCLA where he played from 1985-1989 and is No. 1 in Bruins history with 45.5 tackles for loss. As a Steeler, he served as an assistant coach from 2011-2017, but his legacy is as a member of the Steelers Hall of Honor and their all-time team.
Carnell’s only son, Quentin, followed in his dad’s Bruins footsteps in Los Angeles from 2017-2021. There the younger Lake was a second-team All-Pac-12 safety in 2021 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2022.
Hypocycloids Gone Hollywood
Legendary Steelers Scout Bill Nunn Jr. was (deservedly so) posthumously enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, His son, Bill Nunn III, carved out quite a career himself in Hollywood as an well-known actor in movies like Spike Lee’s (Nunn’s college roommate) Do The Right Thing (Radio Raheem) and New Jack City (Duh Duh Man’), Sister Act (Lieutenant Eddie Souther) (Duh Duh Man’) and The Spiderman Trilogy (Robbie Robertson) among others. In the 70s, the young Nunn was a ball boy for the Men of Steel, Bill and Art Rooney II actually stole Joe Greene’s green Lincoln Continental during training camp for a joy ride at Saint Vincent College. The duo eventually informed “Mean Joe” of the carnapping, but it was well after the statute of limitations expired sometimes in the 2000s. Two years after his father died at age 89, Bill Nunn III passed away in his hometown of Pittsburgh in 2016 at the age of 62.
It’s a little-known fact that Steelers superstar Cameron Heyward was once fined $5,787 by the NFL in 2015 for writing his father’s nickname on his eye black in a month where players wore pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Craig “Ironhead” Heyward died of bone cancer at the Age of 39 in 2006.
When trying to highlight Steelers as dads, I remembered the perfect moment which featured Bill and Meghan Cowher moments after the Steelers loss to Dallas in Super Bowl XXX. As despondent as Coach Cowher seemed, he lit up when he saw his wife Kay and oldest daughter Meagan. Bill embraced Meg and said, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”. The coach’s nine-year old replied with a whisper that wasn’t audible in highlights, “Win or lose, you’ll always be my hero”. That was a Hall of Fame moment from a girl that made her father feel like a champion even though the scoreboard read differently.
Steel Dad Facts
Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin didn’t originally have a present father figure in his life as he reportedly did not have a relationship with Baltimore Colt draftee and CFL’s Montreal Allouettes player, Ed Tomlin. But in 1980 at age 8, Julia, Tomlin’s mother, married Leslie Copeland. Copeland assumed the role of male role model and Mike always referred to Copeland as his dad. Coach T., who is a father figure to his players, embraces the responsibility of father to Dino (a WR for Boston College), Mason (a DB for Colombia) and Harlyn (a PA state champion gymnast) even more. At an All Pro Dads and Kids seminar, Tomlin shared his parenting philosophy in 2012. “Family comes first. Coaching is what I do but being a husband and father is who I am. I think that is the proper perspective to have. What we do for a living can consume us, but I think we need to keep our priorities in order. Sometimes we need reminders of that and I continually remind myself”. That’s a great reminder to us all.
Steelers Jeopardy Answer in the Form of a Question: Who is Ron Johnson
Out of Michigan State, 1978 First Rounder Ron Johnson played cornerback for the Steelers from 1978-1984 and won rings his first two seasons in the league as a Steeler. In 1980, No. 29 welcomed a son into the world and dubbed him Ron Jr. The younger RJ was a receiver at Minnesota in college before being drafted by the Ravens in 2002. Johnson Jr. also suited up for the Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders, the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators, and Cleveland Gladiators until 2008. Sadly, Ron Johnson Sr. passed away in 2018 at the age of 62.
So, there you have it. Anybody can spout out stat after stat, but not everybody can embrace the colorful and personal side of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So, the more you know, the more you can stupefy your friends, family and neighbors with your big, black-and-gold brain.
We’ll see you right here next week. Until then keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the hypocycloids.