Before Najee Harris and Rashard Mendenhall, the last running back selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers was Tim Worley.
The speedster out of the University of Georgia was the team’s seventh overall selection in the 1989 draft and apparently being picked by the team was a dream come true.
“Steelers were always my favorite team since I was ten years old,” Worley told Steelers.com’s Stan Savran in a recent sit-down interview. “So when they drafted me and drafted me so high it was like a dream come true.”
Growing up in North Carolina, Worley says his options of teams to like were the Baltimore Colts, the now-Washington Commanders and the Dallas Cowboys. He settled on Pittsburgh because of his admiration of Steelers legends like Joe Greene, Franco Harris, Terry Bradshaw and Lynn Swann in the 1970s.
Well, that and because he liked the team’s color scheme.
“I like the black and gold, that’s my favorite colors.”
At the time of the selection, the Georgia running back seemed to be a no-brainer rushing for 1,216 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior.
Worley would have a difficult time living up to the hype of being a high first-round draft pick. Following a solid start to his career with 770 rushing yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, he struggled to find consistency.
After being suspended for the entirety of the 1992 season due to a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the Steelers would trade Worley to the Chicago Bears the next year. Perhaps the most memorable part of Worley’s run with the team was his performance in the team’s 1989 playoff game against the Houston Oilers where he scored the first touchdown of the game.
His score would prove to be pivotal as the team just skated by with a late field goal by kicker Gary Anderson.
Worley played for a total of six seasons rushing for 1,792 yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 253 receiving yards. The former Steeler noted his admiration for the city throughout his career, despite not fully living up to his billing.
“It is such an honor to come back to the city of Pittsburgh itself because I’ve always loved this city. The city was good to me, I don’t know how good I was to the city, but the city was good to me and they believed in me.”
Hopefully the Steelers’ first-round pick this year can also help the team win some playoff games in the future.