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Steelers C Mason Cole Wins The Chief Award For 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers C Mason Cole has been awarded “The Chief” Award, given annually to the top Pittsburgh Steelers’ player for his personality and cooperation with local media. The team announced the selection of Cole on Steelers.com in a piece by Teresa Varley. Here is a video of Cole receiving the award via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko.

“The Chief Award,” was established in honor of Steelers’ founder, Art Rooney, Sr. who was often referred to as “The Chief”. The award was established back in 1988 and has had the likes for Cameron Heyward and Ben Roethlisberger take home the honor the past few seasons.

This is a commendable accomplishment for Cole who is in his first season with the Steelers after signing a three-year deal this past offseason. Pittsburgh signed Cole to be the team’s starting center, relegating former starter Kendrick Green to the bench. Cole has started every game thus far in the 2022 season for the Steelers despite dealing with several different injuries throughout the year.

He has been a positive presence in the locker room and on the field, providing stability and consistency at the center spot Pittsburgh lacked last season. The running game has taken significant strides forward in the second half of the year thanks to Cole’s efforts along with protecting Pickett in the pocket.

 

“The culture and the significance of the history of this organization,” Cole said to the media Wednesday on video from Teresa Varley’s Twitter page. “You can talk about guys like Franco Harris and what he did for this organization, and the guys after that in-between here and then. It’s been really cool to learn about the groundworks that were laid by guys 50 years ago, and Tomlin still talks about it. Mr. Rooney talks about it. It’s just… it doesn’t seem that culture’s changed in a long time, but I think that’s something very special. You can’t say that about a lot of places in the NFL. And play for this city is really, really special. Man, I wish we made a won more games this year, but we’re still in it. And what a cool sports town this is to be in and what a special place this is to be.”

Cole was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft and played there his first three seasons before getting traded to the Minnesota Vikings where he spent the 2021 season. He played in 60 games for both franchises, starting 39 of them at either center or guard. While Cole can be appreciative of both his previous stops on his football journey in the NFL, it appears as if he’s found a home in Pittsburgh.

A team with a storied history, Cole has enjoyed every second being a part of a team rich in tradition and a winning culture implemented by Mike Tomlin and other members of the franchise. While the Steelers didn’t start the season the way they wanted, they have turned the tables thanks to a resilient second half and are within one game of clinching a postseason berth. It’ll be up to Cole and the rest of the team to take care of business Sunday against the Browns and hope the other dominos fall in their favor to get the seventh seed in the AFC playoffs.

A list of past Chief Award recipients:
1988 Dan Rooney
1989 Dwayne Woodruff
1990 Merril Hoge
1991 Gerald Williams
1992 Tunch Ilkin
1993 D.J. Johnson
1994 Rod Woodson
1995 Levon Kirkland
1996 Chad Brown
1997 Darren Perry
1998 Jerome Bettis
1999 Lee Flowers
2000 Jerome Bettis/Deshea Townsend
2001 Lee Flowers
2002 Hines Ward
2003 Mike Logan
2004 Jerome Bettis
2005 Alan Faneca
2006 Brett Keisel/Deshea Townsend
2007 Alan Faneca
2008 Ryan Clark
2009 James Farrior
2010 Ben Roethlisberger
2011 James Farrior
2012 Casey Hampton
2013 Ike Taylor
2014 Cameron Heyward
2015 Ramon Foster
2016 Arthur Moats
2017 David DeCastro
2018 Joe Haden
2019 Cameron Heyward
2020 Ben Roethlisberger

2021 Cameron Heyward

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