He may not have been present in Arlington this weekend in attendance at the NFL Draft, where the prospects invited walk out onto the stage and put on a hat that represents the new team that just drafted them, but fifth-round safety Marcus Allen joined their first-round pick and position-mate Terrell Edmunds in fitting his head with a Pittsburgh Steelers cap soon after getting the 412 area code phone call.
Allen may have grown up in Maryland but he was raised a Steelers fan, so after he got the call from Head Coach Mike Tomlin, he needed only to walk into his room and grab a hat that he already owned. His family is from the region, and he ended up playing at Penn State.
“It’s all tears of joy right now”, he said about his family during a conference call with the local press following the selection. “Everyone has been anxious, anxious wondering where I was going to go, but it’s a perfect situation. This is my home man. It’s my hometown. My grandmother is from there. My grandfather is from there – my whole family. I’m just so excited”.
He certainly isn’t the first player to be drafted by the Steelers after growing up Steelers fans, or whose family were Steelers fans. Jaylen Samuels was actually a Cowboys fan growing up, but Jesse James in particular, born and raised in the area, and a former teammate of Allen’s at Penn State, is the most significant example on the current roster.
The team’s newest safety said that he did spend a good amount of time in Pittsburgh when he was young in spite of the fact that he grew up in Maryland. “I know the area pretty well”, he told reporters. “I’ve been around there for all of the summers. It’s just amazing, amazing feeling”.
Allen was at Heinz Field in late November along with several other Penn State players to support their teammate, Michael Schuster, who is the grandson of Dick Hoak. Hoak was a part of the Steelers’ inaugural class into their Hall of Honor, which included a ceremony that took place at that time.
Asked if he expected to be back here, he said, “that was the plan. That was definitely the plan”. He may not have been thrilled about going in the fifth round, but to go to Pittsburgh was special not just for him, but for his family.
“Everybody is ecstatic right now”, he said. “Everybody is going crazy so I am just out of breath right now”. Outside observers such as ourselves could only imagine getting the opportunity to play for the team that you grew up with.
Some people actually get the chance to live out that dream, as Allen and James, and others, get to do with the Steelers. They’re of course not the only team, but they are the only team this site focuses on. I think it makes it a bit easier to relate to players as we share a revelry in our fandom.