John spent six fantastic years playing professional football with the Pittsburgh Steelers as inside linebacker and special teams player. I started on the practice squad in 1997. Then in 1998, I played mostly on special teams, being the leading tackler with 29. The highlight tackle of this season was a touchdown-saving tackle on Jacquez Green’s 46-yard punt return at Tampa Bay.
In 1999, I was selected by my teammates as special teams captain, the first of four consecutive years I would hold this honor. Once again, I led special teams with 20 tackles (nine solos.)
2000, I was again voted as special teams captain and led in tackles with 22 (13 solo.) There was more linebacker action this year, registering 9 tackles in defensive plays. I was in on the tackle that forced Corey Harris to fumble and led to the Steeler game-winning field goal against Baltimore.
2001 brought another special teams captain honor. I had much more action on defense this year, logging 31 defensive plays. In the AFC Playoff Game verses Baltimore, I played linebacker the second half, registering 4 tackles. I started the AFC Championship Game as linebacker and finished with seven tackles.
2002, I Signed a new three year contract with the Steelers and was elected special teams captain. I recovered a fumble on a field goal attempt on second down in overtime against the Cleveland Browns. The Steelers had a second chance to kick after the recovery and defeated the Browns. November 24th I suffered a torn P.C.L. and was placed on injury reserves for the season.
During the 2000 season I was voted the “Unsung Hero” by my teammates. This award goes to a player whose work ethic, effort, and dedication to the team is of exceptional quality, yet goes largely unnoticed by the media.