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PUM Contributor Isaiah Beckham presents football stories taking place in the region and nationally. From the pros to local high school football stories, if it is taking place in the end zone Beckham has it covered.
National accolades continue to roll in for Pitt sophomore wide receiver Jordan Addison and senior quarterback Kenny Pickett.
Both players were honored on the Sporting News All-America Team announced today. Addison was named to the first team, while Pickett was a second-team selection.
Addison, winner of this year's Biletnikoff Award as college football's outstanding receiver, has now garnered four first-team All-America nods by NCAA-recognized selectors. He previously was honored by the Associated Press, Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Walter Camp Football Foundation.
Addison has compiled 93 receptions for 1,479 yards (15.9 avg.) and a national-best 17 touchdowns. His yardage ranks third in the country and first among Power 5 receivers. Pickett, winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a Heisman Trophy finalist, has completed 67% of his passes (334 of 497) for 4,319 yards with 42 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Including his five rushing scores, he has totaled 47 touchdowns this season. Pickett's passing yardage, passing touchdowns, total TDs and completions are all Pitt season records.
Sporting News is one of five teams used in the NCAA's selection of an annual college football consensus All-America team. The final official All-America squad—selected by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)—will be released on Wednesday, Dec. 15.
Addison and Pickett helped lead the Panthers to an 11-2 record, their first ACC championship and a berth in the Dec. 30 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where they will face Michigan State (10-2).
Pitt sophomore wide receiver Jordan Addison
For the third straight year, the Steelers have brought happiness and joy to families across the Pittsburgh area through Huddle for the Holidays, a unique outreach in conjunction with Convoy of Hope that provides necessities, simple pleasures, and some holiday love to those who need it most.
Volunteers, including Steelers players and staff, spent several days preparing gift packages for 500 families in the Pittsburgh area. The packages were filled with needs such as groceries, clothing, and health resource kits, as well as what makes Christmas morning special for the youngest in the community, toys, toys and more toys.
The packages were delivered by players and staff to 12 community organizations in Pittsburgh. The organizations, which include Healthy Start Pittsburgh, Jeremiah's Place and Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania, are distributing the items to their members who need it most to alleviate some holiday stress in their lives.
"I think it's very important (to help out)," said receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was among a group of players who loaded bags and then delivered them around the city. "A lot of kids, a lot of people, look up to us. We're the face of the city. It's nice to give back to the community. It just shows so much. This is special that the Steelers are able to partner with Convoy of Hope. What they do is unbelievable. The stuff they do for kids is so important."
From his twitter account, LaRoi Johnson announced he was resigning as Sto-Rox football coach, "I want to first say thank you to everyone who has been apart of the last four years. It was an honor to be your Head Coach the last 4 season's. To every student athlete I coached I thank you for all of your efforts. I will love you always and will be in your corner forever."
What shocked everyone was the fact that coach Johnson, has led Sto-Rox to the WPIAL finals twice in his four seasons.
The Vikings went 37-9 under Johnson and finished as WPIAL runner-up in 2020 and ’19. The team went 12-1 this season and reached the WPIAL Class 2A semifinals.
Read more from Tribune Review: https://tribhssn.triblive.com/laroi-johnson-resigns-as-football-coach-athletic-director-at-sto-rox/
Franklin’s contract pays $7.5 million each season through 2031, Franklin is the first permanent Black head football coach at Penn State.
Release from Penn State:
Penn State's James Franklin has agreed to the terms of a new 10-year contract to remain as the head football coach of the Nittany Lions through 2031. The terms were approved by the Subcommittee on Compensation of the Penn State Board of Trustees today.
"Penn State's future is bright, and I'm honored to continue to serve as your head football coach," said Franklin. "Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What's most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes' success both on and off the field.
"With the support of President Barron, Sandy Barbour and the Board of Trustees we've been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more. This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I've been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I've kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I'm excited we've reached an agreement we can finally share with you."
Sandy Barbour, Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics, said the commitment to Franklin and the football program is important to continue to compete as one of the premiere programs in the country.
"We are excited to have James Franklin lead our football program for a long time," said Barbour. "We will continue our collective efforts to constantly improve in all aspects of our program. We have made, and will need to continue to make, significant investment in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James. With this contract, we are signaling our sustained commitment to being one of the premiere programs in the history of college football. Our goals and aspirations relating to football have never wavered and our investments today and in the future of our program will allow us to compete at the highest level.
"James has been a tremendous leader, providing a Penn State standard of care and attention to all aspects of growth and development for our student-athletes. Our young men have benefited from his guidance academically, socially and athletically. I'm thrilled James has committed to Penn State and to providing that leadership for years to come. I'm looking forward to years of impact for students and community for our football program under his leadership and to the Franklin family remaining valued and prominent members of our community. I know there will be much success ahead for our football program with Coach Franklin at the helm."
Penn State President Eric J. Barron also commended Franklin and the program for their achievements.
"Penn State is very happy to offer this extension to Coach Franklin, who has created an environment in which our student-athletes can be successful on the field, as well as leaders in our community and beyond," said Barron. "As head coach, James continues to build the Nittany Lion football program even while navigating a number of exceptional challenges, including COVID-19 and a shift in amateurism rules in college sports. We look forward to his sustained success, his pursuit of excellence, and his remaining an integral part of Penn State football and our University."
Franklin, who will coach his 100th game at Penn State Saturday at Michigan State, owns a 67-32 record as the Nittany Lions' leader. Under Franklin, the Nittany Lions are 43-12 at Beaver Stadium with three undefeated campaigns. Franklin guided the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten Championship, as well as bowl games in seven of his eight seasons as head coach, including the 2017 Rose Bowl, 2017 Fiesta Bowl and 2019 Cotton Bowl.
Since 2016, Penn State holds a .726 winning percentage, with a record of 53-20, the ninth-best winning percentage among Power Five programs. Penn State has won at least nine games in four of the last five seasons, one of eight FBS programs to accomplish the feat.
Franklin is second all-time in winning percentage by an FBS African American head coach (minimum 80 wins) and is third in total wins. He has led the Nittany Lions to three 10-win seasons during his time in Happy Valley. Franklin has secured top-25 recruiting classes each of his last nine seasons, including a top-5 class at Penn State in 2018.
In the classroom, Franklin's student-athletes have claimed four CoSIDA Academic All-American honors and two National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete accolades. The Nittany Lions posted their first 1,000 single-year APR in program history in 2018-19, topping the previous high of 993 in 2014-15.
He was selected as the 2019 Renaissance Fund recipient, which honors outstanding community members and helps students in need. Franklin and his family have created the Franklin Family Educational Equity Scholarship, which is given to help make the Penn State experience affordable for students who haven't had access to enroll in the past.
The Nittany Lions face No. 12/13 Michigan State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in East Lansing to close out the regular season. Penn State finds out its bowl destination Sunday, December 5. For information on requesting tickets, visit GoPSUsports.com/bowlcentral.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and ticket information for the 2021 Penn State Football season presented by PSECU, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, or call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.
The Steelers are well represented among the Modern Era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022.
After having a total of five members of the organization enshrined over the summer as members of the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021, the Steelers have five players who are among the initial list of nominees for the Class of 2022.
Included in the group of nominees are receiver Hines Ward, who has advanced as a semifinalist in the past, tight end Heath Miller, defensive lineman Casey Hampton, linebacker Hardy Nickerson Sr. and kicker Gary Anderson.
The complete list of Modern Era nominees includes a total of 122 individuals. The Modern Era nominees will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November and to 15 finalists in January.
The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will meet early in 2022 to determine the class, and the 2022 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony will be held next August in Canton, Ohio.
Hall of Fame Nominee, receiver Hines Ward
This summer, Shady Side Academy (SSA) welcomed 11 students from The Neighborhood Academy (TNA) as members of the SSA football team, thanks to a new PIAA-approved Cooperative Sponsorship of Football (co-op) agreement between the two Pittsburgh-area independent schools. The co-op gives students at TNA, which does not have a football program, the opportunity to join the Shady Side Academy Bulldogs football team.
The co-op was approved by the PIAA Board of Directors on July 14, 2021, and the WPIAL Board of Directors on July 19. TNA students joined SSA summer workouts shortly after approval, receiving a warm, enthusiastic welcome from their new teammates and coaches. Preseason practices began Monday, Aug. 16. So far, the co-op is off to a very positive start.
"It has been amazing to see our players come together during summer workouts,” said Head Football Coach Chuck DiNardo ‘00, who views all of his players as one team, regardless of the school they attend. “We're building relationships and building trust in each other right now, which is vital. We have a great deal of work ahead of us, but the environment that these kids are creating each day in practice shows you know we are onto something special."
"This partnership has been the best. People from my school have always wanted a football team, so I bet those people are even more excited now. This has been fun for me as well. I'm learning everything slowly and it's all coming together!" said TNA sophomore Brent Manns.
“I think it's amazing that there are more people playing football,” said SSA senior co-captain Andy Marous. “It's been such a unique and valuable experience for me, so I'm glad I can share it with more people. Our new guys love coming in and working hard to improve, which helps motivate us as a team. I'm grateful to spend time with them and call them my teammates. I can't wait to see what we do together this season."
After SSA was approached a year ago about the possibility by TNA representatives, then-Athletic Director Gene Deal and DiNardo began formally exploring a potential partnership from SSA’s perspective. Through extensive interviews with SSA football parents, players and alumni, they found broad support for such an initiative, as well as considerable upside for both schools.
There are many cooperative sponsorships in the PIAA and WPIAL in nearly every sport. The program is designed to help smaller schools come together to provide opportunities for greater participation. Per PIAA by-laws, co-ops must involve at least one school with an enrollment of fewer than 300 boys or girls (depending on sport) in grades 9-11, a threshold both SSA and TNA meet. The schools must be in contiguous or overlapping school districts.
The classification of a boys’ co-op team is determined by the combined enrollment of all male students at one school plus 50% of male students at the other school. Based on that formula, the Shady Side Academy Bulldogs football team will continue to compete in PIAA/WPIAL Class 2A.
“Our community is blessed to have this opportunity with Shady Side Academy,” said TNA Director of Athletics Gary Shawley. “The cooperative effort has been exhilarating for our young men and our community. The SSA community has welcomed us with open arms, and the young men have blended together very quickly. It has been a joy to watch them support each other during practice and enjoy each other's company off of the gridiron. I believe the two communities bonding together will forge lasting relationships not only on the field, but also off the field and for years to come.”
“We are excited to debut the new cooperative sponsorship between Shady Side Academy and The Neighborhood Academy – the first such collaboration in SSA’s rich football history,” said SSA Director of Athletics Sean Simmons. “It provides student-athletes from both schools the opportunity to train and compete as one Bulldog team. While observing preseason practices, it has been an absolute pleasure to see student-athletes from both communities coming together to work towards a common goal while creating positive lifelong memories. We look forward to a great season!”
The football co-op further bolsters a longstanding relationship between SSA and TNA, both of whom are members of the Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools (PCIS). SSA alumnus Rev. Tom Johnson Jr. ‘73 co-founded TNA in 2001 after serving as a teacher, coach and board member at Shady Side for 10 years. As TNA’s head of school from 2001-2018, and now as headmaster emeritus, Johnson remains active in both school communities.
Both schools have an athletic requirement for students as part of a balanced, college-preparatory curriculum focused on the whole child. In the past, SSA has allowed TNA’s track & field team to hold practices and home meets at SSA’s Michael J. Farrell Stadium. And, coincidentally, both schools’ mascots are Bulldogs.
SSA and TNA have committed to the football co-op for at least two seasons (2021 and 2022), after which time the schools will evaluate the program and decide whether to continue it further.
“I am so glad that both schools have worked successfully to provide TNA’s students the opportunity to participate in high school football and deepen an already strong relationship between two of our city’s leading independent schools.” said SSA President Bart Griffith ‘93. “We are excited for the season and all that this partnership will inspire for both communities.”
"I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity for The Neighborhood Academy to join Shady Side Academy in the upcoming football season,” said TNA Head of School Dr. Anthony Williams. “Together, our student-athletes will grow with one another both on and off the field. I am very grateful to the SSA community for embracing this opportunity. I can't wait to cheer our student-athletes on. GO BULLDOGS!"
Source: Shady Side Academy
818 Linda Lane, Pittsburgh PA 15243
8/21 – WESTINGHOUSE (SCRIMMAGE) – HOME 10:00AM
8/27 – RIVERVIEW – HOME 7:00 PM
9/3 – SPRINGDALE – AWAY 7:00 PM
9/10 – VALLEY – HOME 7:00 PM
9/17 – CARYLNTON – AWAY 7:00 PM
9/24 – STO-ROX – HOME 7:00 PM
10/1 – SERRA CATHOLIC – AWAY 7:00 PM
10/9 – APOLLO-RIDGE (HOMECOMING) 2:30 PM
10/15 – STEEL VALLEY – AWAY 7:00 PM
10/22 – LIGONIER VALLEY (SENIOR NIGHT) – HOME 7:00 PM
10/30 – SUMMIT ACADEMY – AWAY 12:00 PM
June 2021 - EXPLOSIVE, RELENTLESS and INSPIRING Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams Defensive tackle proudly represents Pittsburgh on and off the field, PUM Contributor Isaiah Beckham caught up with Donald as a participant at his annual football camp.
Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald comes home to Pittsburgh to host a free, youth football skills camp for athletes ages 6 to 18 at his alma mater, Penn Hills High School. Donald, AD99 Solutions, and 2 Tenths Speed & Agility Training presented the Living in the Pocket Youth Football Skills Camp for close to 150 athletes held on June 26th. Donald, who also played for the University of Pittsburgh is recognized as a unanimous All-American and was drafted by the Rams with the 13th pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Eager Athletes from all over the country participated in the camp and best of all we had the opportunity to meet and learn some valuable football techniques on the field with the legendary NFL superstar.
Donald is currently rated as the best player in the NFL and I would agree with RAMSWIRE.com he is a serious force to be reckoned with: “Donald doesn’t play a premier position for the Rams, but he’s established himself as the best defensive tackle in the NFL and the most dominant player at any position. You earn that title by winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards, earning six All-Pro selections and setting the NFL record for the most sacks in a season by a defensive tackle (20.5). At the age of 30, he’s shown no signs of slowing down, either. He’s coming off a season in which he had 13.5 sacks and 28 QB hits, winning Defensive Player of the Year for the third time. And as a result, Pro Football Focus continues to view him as the best player in football.”
For a student athlete striving to make it to the NFL, this was truly a privilege to be in Donald’s presence and better yet, to take a photo and get his autograph well that is a keepsake memory to be cherished. Meeting Donald, I was a little nervous but his personality is very laid-back and he is super chilled. I watched as he patiently greeted each camp participant with kindness and sincerity.
THE CAMP EXPERIENCE: WHAT THE WORKOUT CONSISTED FOR ME
For over three hours in the extremely humid 88 degree weather we worked our butts off while having a blast. We started off with warmups and stretching to get our body’s ready for the intense work ahead of us. Then we all separated into various groups to go through some tough agility drills. I did pretty well on the agility drills because as a running back you have to have quick feet, something I have been working on all summer. Once the agility work was complete, we focused on defensive back drills which was a great experience for me because guarding someone closely one on one is essential in football. We worked on pass drops and shifting our speed at the correct time to learn to get the interceptions. There was one rep where I jumped up and caught the ball with one hand and that seemed to get everyone around me hyped up. My Shady Side Academy football team mate, Deacon Durham and I were on fire, and many of the coaches continued to challenge us with harder drills.
While participating in the camps, I usually like to start off on offense drills but decided to switch it up and get on defense and I did not hold back because this was a great time to show off your skills. Once the ball was snapped, I was as physical as I could be and barely let the player off the line and once we got to start his route I was right there with him and I grabbed the ball out of the air for an interception. That had to be my best DB play, I am finally getting a feel for how you properly guard someone, thanks to camps like this one and my SSA football summer training. I then proceeded to run six more routes against the players and I dominated each one. I focused on two key people to run against because everyone else seemed to be no competition. Near the end of the camp we went back out to run some more 1v1s and this is where it got interesting and competitive. Everyone crowded to one spot to watch five players including Deacon and myself go against each other in more 1v1s. Once it was my turn to run on the first route I was jammed at the line by a player and couldn’t even get off to run my route. I was caught off guard, but I didn't just give up there, I told everyone to run it back so I could redeem myself and that’s exactly what I did. I exploded off the line and dusted the DB then I turned around and the ball floated in the air, it wasn’t really a good pass but I didn’t give up, I hunted the ball down and got the completion. Don’t give up, the play is still in action, I learned to trust myself. (Check out the play on my twitter account: https://twitter.com/ReignBeckham
At the end of the camp, well known Pittsburgh King of football training, Dwayne Brown (aka D. Brown) owner of 2 Tenths Speed & Agility Training, who trains Donald, offered the best advice to camp participants. “You did an excellent job today, you got to keep moving and keep improving, that’s the most important, you need to have good grades, listen to your coaches and parents. You need to know how to take direction. A lot of you guys who have some talent but you need to learn how to take directions or you are not going anywhere.”
I loved this football camp experience and it was one of the best I attended so far this summer. I would definitely recommend this camp to future athletes who want to improve their football skills and techniques. At the end of the day, what made this experience extra special was the legend himself, Aaron Donald who truly demonstrates on and off the field that he has the Heart of a Champion. Not only does he provide this free camp, but he also holds an Annual Prep Forward Program for male African American high school student-athletes to be able to receive access to the organization’s tuition-free academic, athletic, and life skills programming. This tuition-free educational program is offered to African American student-athletes, ages 13-18, throughout Allegheny County.
For me, the most important lesson I learned from one of the greatest NFL players, our Pittsburgh hometown hero, Aaron Donald, “is don’t talk about it, be about it.”
June 29, 2021
Isaiah Reign Beckham
AD99 Solutions Accepting Applications for Annual Prep Forward Program Applications due by July 12th for male African American high school student-athletes to receive access to the organization’s tuition-free academic, athletic, and life skills programming.
NFL veteran Aaron Donald's AD99 Solutions accepts applications now through July 12, 2021 for its Prep Forward program. This tuition-free educational program is offered to African American student-athletes, ages 13-18, throughout Allegheny County. Services for the selected students will begin in early September 2021.
AD99 Solution's Prep Forward curriculum bridges the gap between traditional education and the real world. The year-round program is specifically designed to help prepare African American students and their families for the rigors of higher education, the demands of an evolving job market, and the complexities of a changing world.
Prep Forward services include mentoring, academic support, i.e., tutoring, life skills and job readiness development, holistic health and family support services, and athletic training. Students selected for this program are eligible to participate from the year they're chosen until they graduate from high school. As AD99 prepares for its third academic year, the Prep Forward program has already successfully graduated two original cohort students.
Remaining cohort students have seen a rise in overall grade point average and a reduction in in-school and at-home disciplinary challenges through the program. To learn more or apply, visit https://ad99.org/prep-forward-application/.
Founded in 2019, AD99 Solution's mission is to change the trajectory of Pittsburgh's most vulnerable youth by providing necessary resources in a free, safe environment where they can be empowered to excel academically, socially, and athletically. Visit www.AD99.org to learn more.
Source: AD99.org / images courtesy of AD99 Solutions.
Over 400 athletes from around the country showed up to attend The University of Pittsburgh’s Rising Star Camp 1, held June 6th at the UPMC Sports Complex, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
From Compton, California to New York City, the athletes sporting their new gear, with their game day faces intact, stepped into the facility prepared to showcase their talent.
As a rising sophomore at Shady Side Academy, who signed up in the running back category, this was going to be my first football camp experience, and I really had no idea what to expect, but I felt I was in shape and ready to enjoy the day. The venue was held where the Steelers train and to be able to practice in this magnificent facility was a dream come true. Just knowing the Pittsburgh Steelers new running back Najee Harris' was just practicing on the field, made the venue extra special especially for someone like me who would love to play for the Steelers. Having the Pitt Panthers host this sold out event, you can especially appreciate the fact they have nine championships and to be able to interact one on one with the Pitt coaches was worth the sixty bucks for the camp.
The high school athletes understood this was a great opportunity to show off their skills to the college coaches who came to watch, teach and elevate our game. For some of the athletes this just might be the last chance to get noticed, so its serious business to impress the coaches.
We first broke off to participate in a combine which consisted of the 40 yard dash, broad jump, and line runs. These are the basic skills you need to work on, because the coaches are keeping stats on these particular skills. This felt like the American Idol competition of football, you really just don’t know what exactly coaches are looking for in a high school athlete especially at these camps. I am told, they perhaps have already identified some of the athletes they are interested in, and of course always looking for new talent.
In the running back category, there were about thirty athletes who joined me for our drills. Decked out in my shiny new all black helmet (which got really hot) one of our coaches proceeded to teach us how to get off of tackles when using a stiff arm more effectively and also how to have quicker feet when making cuts and spins. The Pitt coaches were willing to help us improve our game, they were very encouraging in their training details. I really enjoyed most the 1v1s (player vs player) because I was able to show off my skills and also get direct coaching that can help in an in-game situation. This was an opportunity where the coaches and players can watch you closer instead of a large group of players.
I learned while attending this camp, it’s not all about the brawn, you have to get your brain focused while in High School. The resounding message from the coaches is the fact that academics does matter, you need to keep your GPA up as high as you can (prefer over 3.5) because that will help you get noticed by more college recruits. When it comes to your overall effort, that is where you need to have the heart of a champion, you need to give 100 percent effort in your preparation to play football. You need to get faster in your running game, build a stronger body through weights, keep your body healthy by always hydrating and eating healthy meals. You need to also improve your agility by setting up cones or an agility ladder and just going through simple footwork drills. It is the small stuff that counts and if you focus every day on one aspect of your body then you will see the biggest change when you step onto the field, your game will ultimately improve.
Overall this camp experience was worth going to because it showed me new ways of improving my techniques as an athlete and as a student. If you dream of attending a D-1 college like Pitt, this camp provides athletes exposure to their coaches, other talented players and more importantly you have a better idea of what colleges are looking for in future players.
This camp was the real deal, no one was sugar coating the process, if you even get looked at from college recruiters it’s going to take that extra effort work ethic on and off the field. Character matters, researching schools matter, having your social media highlight tape current and available for busy coaches to review is also important.
At the end of the camp day, after experiencing six hours going through training drills in 88 degree weather, I was exhausted, hungry and even more encouraged to pursue football because of the Pitt camp experience. Just keeping it 100, the talent is fierce, but I will encourage you to participate in the Pitt camp in the future or any upcoming football camps because it truly opens your eyes up to the dedication and determination you need to get recruited by colleges. When you walk away from the camp experience hopefully you feel like I did that you love the game of football even more.
The Steelers signed rookie running back Najee Harris, the team's No.1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Harris, who played at the University of Alabama, finished his college career as the Crimson Tide's all-time leading rusher with 3,843 career yards. He also led the school in all-time touchdowns with 57, including a school-record 46 rushing touchdowns and another 11 receiving. Harris' 4,624 all-purpose yards rank second in school history.
Harris rushed for 100 plus yards 13 times in his career, including six both his junior and senior seasons. He won the Doak Walker Award, presented to the top running back in college football, in 2020 and was a unanimous first-team All-American (Associated Press, AFCA, FWAA, The Sporting News and Walter Camp).
Harris said during the team's rookie minicamp that the key for him is to just come in and learn.
Stability has always been a staple for the Steelers, and that stability is evident today as the team announced head coach Mike Tomlin has been signed to a three-year contract extension. The extension will keep Tomlin at the helm through at least the 2024 season.
"I am pleased to announce we have extended Mike Tomlin's contract through the 2024 season," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "Mike is one of the most successful head coaches in the National Football League, and we are confident in his leadership to continue to lead our team as we work to win another championship."
Tomlin, who was hired in 2007, will enter his 15th season with the team in 2021 and is only the third Steelers head coach since the 1969 season, joining Hall of Famers Chuck Noll (1969-91) and Bill Cowher (1992-2006) during that time frame.
"I am extremely grateful for this contract extension and want to thank Art Rooney II and everyone in the organization for the support in my first 14 seasons," said Tomlin. "We have a goal of winning the organization's seventh Super Bowl championship, and I couldn't be more enthusiastic about this upcoming season."
Tomlin is currently the third longest tenured head coach in the NFL. In 2020 he tied late coach Marty Schottenheimer, joining him as the only two head coaches in NFL history to have 14 consecutive non-losing seasons to begin their NFL careers.
From the time he arrived in Pittsburgh, Tomlin found success. He became the youngest head coach in NFL history to both coach in and win a Super Bowl when the Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23, in Super Bowl XLIII. At the time Tomlin was 36 years, 323 days old. By winning the Super Bowl in only his second season as a head coach, he also became the fastest to win a Super Bowl title in Steelers' history.
In 14 seasons Tomlin led the Steelers to seven AFC North titles, including 2020, nine playoff berths, and two Super Bowl (XLIII and XLV) appearances.
Tomlin has a 145-78-1 (.650) regular season record, ranking 12th in NFL history with a regular season record of 67 games over .500. The 145 regular season wins are tied for 21st overall in NFL history and are third most among active NFL head coaches. In addition, his .650-win percentage in the regular season ranks second among active head coaches, with a minimum of 100 games, in the NFL and ranks 11th in NFL history.
CNX Resources Corp. (NYSE: CNX), Bettis Brothers, and The Bus Stops Here Foundation announced a partnership intended to bring greater awareness and access to opportunities in the natural gas industry to disadvantaged urban and rural communities within the Pittsburgh region. Additionally, CNX laid out comprehensive goals related to its supply chain and sourcing efforts in the critical area of local workforce diversity.
"With a 157-year legacy in this region, our responsibility to our local communities is something we never stop thinking about and never stop working on. So, the opportunity to partner with Jerome and John Bettis, and their foundation, to help advance this important topic was a no-brainer for us. Jerome is a Pittsburgh legend, and we share his passion for the wellbeing of the people and communities here in our backyard," said CNX Chief Excellence Officer Yemi Akinkugbe. Mr. Akinkugbe continued, "At CNX, we have a home-grown, diverse team and our desire is to continue to build and expand the local talent pool through tangible 'hire local' and diversity targets and goals that help advance middle-class opportunities for all in our region."
With a growing need for local family-sustaining jobs, CNX announced it will purchase all services and materials from providers that, in aggregate, maintain at least a 90% local resident employee base (southwestern PA, eastern OH and northern WV) and will dedicate 40% of the total CNX small business spend to companies within the tri-state area. CNX also committed to a 6% Diverse Business Enterprise (DBE) spend and 7% DBE representation on the CNX vendor roster in 2021.
"Our hope and expectation is that this partnership will advance the conversation and bear tangible results when it comes to opening doors to opportunities that exist in the natural gas industry to the communities that need these opportunities the most. We're proud to help lead this effort within the region we love," said John Bettis, Chief Operating Officer of Bettis Brothers.
As part of the partnership between CNX and The Bus Stops Here Foundation, Jerome Bettis and CNX President and CEO Nick DeIuliis will soon visit Sto-Rox High School to deliver needed technology solutions and speak with students regarding career opportunities in the natural gas industry. This follows recent CNX-led classroom technology efforts with West Greene School District and other community partners in the region. Additional details regarding the Sto-Rox event and other future events related to the partnership are forthcoming.
CNX President and CEO Nick DeIuliis commented, "To us, the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance means that we, first and foremost, focus local. We want to be that pipeline that connects local, disadvantaged populations within our region to family-sustaining jobs in energy and manufacturing. Our industry builds broad value for the region and underpins the middle class, and this partnership will help sustain and grow those efforts."
To learn more about CNX's unique Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) approach, accomplishments, and goals, please visit: https://responsibility.cnx.com/esg-overview.html
Jerome and John Bettis
Who could have prepared my football teammates and I at Shady Side Academy for the summer of 2020, for me, it is going down in history as one of the most unpredictable, frustrating, upside down you turn me seasons I have ever encountered. Of course, this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic scare which hit our team with such a great force like a lineman tackling a quarterback without much protection.
Let me backup, it was Spring, March 2020 to be exact, and as an eighth grader, I was anxiously trying to get out of middle school, when COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Students were forced out of our daily school routines and rushed into an online learning experience to be located at home for about three months without much notice or preparation. The online experience was confusing and a little strange in the beginning, it did not feel normal to not be around my classmates, but once I got my ZOOM skills down, I persevered. Needless to say, I missed connecting with my friends and my teachers in person, its hard to recreate the excitement and action that takes place in a classroom, for me it is an important part of the overall learning experience. During my online instruction in the spring, my mom was always looking over my shoulder while I sat at the kitchen table and my dogs were enjoying biting my toes during my endless ZOOMS, but still online learning could not take the place of being at Shady Side Academy for a regular school day with my classmates and teachers.
Like many people surviving the pandemic here in the United States and around the world we believed by summer COVID-19 would be a thing of the past, this horrific historic disaster, would be brief and just like that life would soon be back to normal, at least by summer, right? Not. Unfortunately, here we are in the middle of August and the virus still has deadly tentacles that continues to spread ferociously, touching everyone’s lives in unpredictable and sadly harmful ways even for us athletes who dream of playing football. I was excited about participating in summer football camp at SSA that kicked off in June. I envisioned my life as a football player taking off especially since this is the first time I would be practicing on a High School team. I was relieved when football practice for the summer was not cancelled, however while the powers that be sorted out our football destiny, we had a few moments of interruption and uncertainty. When we got the green light to continue practice through the summer most of my teammates and I were relieved and we understood we would have to practice differently under COVID-19, no doubt this would not be your regular football season.
Your football game strategy and techniques needs to be on point especially with COVID-19 looming over the field, social distancing with my passionate teammates who are eager to run a cool play and throw a football is a new challenge. You better keep your stride and forget about the fact that we had to wait four long weeks before we could even touch a football. On the long hot 90 degree days, you better make sure you have your own water jug, no sharing sips and stories around the big Gatorade cooler, remember to stand 6-feet apart (this is always on your mind.) Don’t forget your plays and get into formation, run the ball, COVID-19 rules, they exist, they are real and required.
While COVID-19 has tried to take away everything good this summer, I’m thankful that our team, one of the few in the region is still able to practice and come together. While the politics continue over whether or not we will have a season, I still enjoy my football practice even with the extra safety precautions and the major changes required and necessary. As part of the precautions, every morning our temperature is taken and we are asked questions regarding our travel activities. My teammates diligently wear our masks for most of our practice and we place our items in a small hoop, making sure not to contaminate anything. Overall, everyone is working hard at following the social distancing rules because we understand the importance of why we have the guidelines in the first place is to help keep us safe and alive.
My favorite part of every practice is when we go to lift weights, in smaller groups, with masks secured, my teammates and I turn up the music and focus on our goals of winning. Moments like this help me escape the harsh reality of COVID-19 and I am thankful that our football camp was not canceled. I appreciate the camaraderie of the players and how important it is for my mental and physical growth overall. I realize so many other players in other school districts have already canceled their football seasons and fall athletics, and I understand the difficult decisions that many people have to make because of COVID-19. These are tough decisions for families, school administrators, coaches, lawmakers, and the athletes but in the face of adversity we are all learning important lessons about life and how precious these moments are sometimes we have to run the most difficult plays to get to the end zone.
My coach, Chuck DiNardo at Shady Side Academy emphasizes during practice to work hard at everything that you do, and when you show up for practice be ready to do your best. He also tells us to thank our parents and others who are making sacrifices for us to be able to practice, and more importantly we should not take them for granted especially during this deadly pandemic.
TO BE OR NOT TO BE, indeed, this is the question that sums up our football season-- whether or not we will have a season come fall is still up in the air and a heated political hot potato, I am not sure who really wins in the end. While the politics about the season continues to be sorted out, I can appreciate that everyone on my football team still comes to work hard every practice and we all have respect for each other, our coaches, and our equipment and stadium. More importantly, our team focuses on respect and trust the most. Coach DiNardo, aka “Coach D” says that he wants to be able to trust us to keep working hard even when we are tired. We are tired of this pandemic, but our spirits are not broken by the desire to continue to play a game that means so much to us young athletes.
As our social distancing rules continues, for me football is still a great escape from this pandemic, sincere props go out to Coach DiNardo, Coach Charles Calabrese “Breezy,” Coach Dave Havern, Coach Josh Frechette, and Coach Alex Bellinotti for their dedication and leadership throughout the summer practice. Indeed, I am a better player because of their relentless commitment and support through this highly unusual, unpredictable but need I say, worthwhile summer of football. Whether we play football or not will continue to be debated, I hope those marking the decisions understand most of us athletes still care about what actions take place. What resonates with me during these turbulent times, is our SSA football chant after each practice where my teammates and I come together to shout loud and proud: “Family on 3. 1. 2. 3. Family.” Family is what matters the most and sometimes it comes in the form of a football team, and sometimes in a family we learn crucial life long lessons during difficult situations like this dreadful pandemic, these are the moments that you need to be strong, stay focused and keep grinding!
Isaiah Beckham, PUM Contributor
August 17, 2020
Isaiah Beckham, Shady Side Academy Football player, 9th grade student.