Some decisions make themselves. That was the case for Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Dravon Askew-Henry, whose decision to come to Pittsburgh was made for him once the West Virginia alumnus went undrafted.
“I already knew what I wanted to do. If I was undrafted I knew where I wanted to go”, he told reporters during rookie minicamp, as one of the team’s most high-profile college free agent signings from after the 2019 NFL Draft. “This is my home”.
And he means that pretty literally. Askew-Henry is from Aliquippa. Darrelle Revis is literally his cousin. Dude was born a Yinzer.
“I grew up a Steelers fan”, he went on. “I have family that stayed here in Pittsburgh. I feel like I’m at home”.
He certainly wouldn’t be the first one to come to Pittsburgh feeling that way. Among the most prominent in recent years would be Jesse James, the tight end who graduated out of Penn State before being selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
While he may have come to the Steelers regardless of the circumstances simply because of his love for his hometown team—assuming that they were mutually interested in him, of course—he also comes to a team that figures to potentially have a roster opening for him.
After all, the Steelers have gone throughout this entire offseason process without making a significant addition to the safety position, and have lost two of the six that they carried on their roster last season. If they carried six in 2018, one would figure they might want to carry at least five this year, and right now, they’re pretty much at four.
P.J. Locke is another notable safety that the team added as an undrafted free agent. They also brought in Kameron Kelly as an alumnus of the Alliance of American Football. Jack Tocho, who played safety in the AAF, was released after the draft, though he was listed by the team as a cornerback.
“I’m going to give the Pittsburgh Steelers, the organization everything I got, just like I would Aliquippa or as I did at West Virginia”, Askew-Henry said. He has that added layer of motivation that can only come from playing for a team that you love.
Of course, that doesn’t give you superhuman abilities. But he did record an interception during rookie minicamp, which is a good way to get started. Now he has to do that against a quarterback who has actually participated in the NFL before.