Steelers punter Pressley Harvin III went through the ringer during his first season in the National Football League.
After winning the Ray Guy Award as the best punter in all of college football back in 2020 as a unanimous All-American selection, Pittsburgh selected Harvin in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. However, that success in college didn’t immediately translate to the NFL as Harvin averaged a meager 42.6 yards per punt as a rookie, struggling at times with directional punting and hangtime to properly flip the field.
However, most of Harvin’s adversity didn’t come on the field, but off it in his first NFL season. He lost his father on Christmas morning due to a battle with a long-term illness with his grandmother passing away just two weeks later on the eve of Pittsburgh’s regular-season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers were there for Harvin every step of the way during those trying times. They allowed him to take time away from the team to spend time with family after the passing of his father while Corliss Waitmann stepped in to punt for a two-week stretch. Pittsburgh also made arrangements for Harvin’s dad to come watch him play one last time against the Tennessee Titans in Pittsburgh. Harvin talked about that experience with Vinnie Candelore and Tre Tipton on the Athletic Aesthetic Podcast, sharing just how much family means to the Steelers organization.
“We’re in an organization where it’s ‘family, faith, and football,’ in that order,” Harvin said on the Athletic Aesthetic Podcast, which aired on the show’s YouTube Channel. “The family part is real. Everybody in that organization was there for my family. That was something that they did not have to do. They got my dad to the Tennessee game that year, fully paid for the whole trip to get him up there. He couldn’t fly so they rented an RV so he would be comfortable. Just doing stuff like that, while I am on the field struggling my rookie year, trying to figure it out.”
Given Harvin’s father’s condition, he was in no state to fly to Pittsburgh. So, the Steelers arranged to have an RV drive him out there so he could watch his son play one final time.
The Steelers have always been known as an organization that embraces family. The Rooneys have instilled that from top-down throughout the organization, treating their players, coaches, and support staff as members of one big family. The relationship that former Steelers CB Ike Taylor and Dan Rooney shared has been well-documented over the years, culminating in Taylor serving as Rooney’s pallbearer during his funeral. The Steelers have treasured family ties when creating their roster as can be seen in the Herbig brothers, Heyward brothers, Watt brothers, and Edmunds brothers all sharing the field together for a time in Pittsburgh.
HC Mike Tomlin has talked about the importance of helping young men in life, not just on the football field. This was a perfect example of that as Harvin found himself in a tough situation and Pittsburgh was there to back him up, showing love and support to him and his family. He will have to battle for his roster spot in 2023 after the Steelers signed Braden Mann to push Harvin for the punting job. Still, Harvin is grateful to be a part of the Steelers organization and recognizes it as an extended family he wants to continue to be a part of.