I really wanted to take the time out to introduce Marshall McFadden to the Steelers Nation. I recently met McFadden in person and I had the honor of talking to him for awhile now on social media. For those who do not know who McFadden is, you will come to know him by reading this blog. McFadden has the full potential to become a great player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and off the field he is a very generous man. McFadden played college football at South Carolina State University. He finished his career with just over 300 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers to a reserve/future contract on January 18, 2012. There he would be on the practice squad and learning. At the end of last season because of injuries to some of the special team players, McFadden was given an active roster spot. This year is a whole new season for McFadden and there has already been comparisons made to a former great Steelers player, James Harrison. Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola posted in a tweet saying “Marshall McFadden is somebody to watch. Looks like James Harrison, hits like Harrison, nasty like Harrison.” Which can be taken out of context since they both played different position at linebacker. Watching the film so far on McFadden hitting hard and covering good on Tight Ends and Running Backs, I was thinking of London Fletcher. Yet still a high comparison to either Harrison or Fletcher but I truly saw what Labriola was meaning. McFadden is a great runner to be able to stop the run and cover the pass. What I love most about McFadden is he understands the game more this year, and was able to be around the ball to make the play or assist in making the tackle in this year’s first preseason game against the Giants. He recorded a total of six tackles. With forty six seconds left in the second quarter, McFadden came in untouched forcing David Carr to throw the ball away and hit Carr very hard. McFadden is hungry to make an impact this season to not only make the team, but to be a great player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. McFadden realizes that the Steelers will ask more from him this year, so he got an early jump on the 2013 season by attending rookie minicamp. McFadden stated “I have been busy working on my craft, working on going over plays and getting my body ready for the season, I am ready to carry the load and bust up on special teams and at inside linebacker.” On the field and off, Lawrence Timmons has been there like an older brother to help McFadden. Dave Bryan of the Terrible Podcast with David Todd has also been acknowledging how talented McFadden can be. The tapes do not lie that McFadden has been a student of the game and has came a long way. I would not underestimate McFadden. Mark Koboly raved about McFadden’s power and potential. Yet even though McFadden is turning heads, he is staying humble and even letting us fans know his work is still in progress by this tweet saying “Up tonight thinking about how far I done came in life, still not where I want to be and not satisfied where I’m at, progress is being made!!!” You have to like that attitude and the understanding that by being in the National Football League, you have to work for it, and nothing is given to you.
Nothing in life is given to us, and my first conversation with McFadden was about how hard I would need to work to be able to beat him in basketball. McFadden tweeted a comment that said “Who think they got the guts to play me one on one in basketball, any challengers? I will Destroy anybody”. My response was if I lived closer I would kill him with my three point shots and that he should just stick with football. McFadden was quick to respond to tell me I wouldn’t get a shot off. So of course, I told McFadden that I liked people that trash talk, but if he was truly that good, I’d take him down low and shoot a hook shot over him like Magic Johnson. Knowing McFadden would respond, I stayed on twitter and it was only seconds before he wrote back stating “Old school basketball don’t have a chance in my house”. I’ll be honest, now that I have heard how good McFadden is because of fans watching him during basketball charities event, I realize I probably would lose.
That conversation though was a connection between a Steelers fan and a Steelers player that allowed me to recently get in contact with McFadden through another social media page. Where in fact he would remember that conversation. Which allowed me to think how cool that was, because of McFadden being a sport athlete I am sure he talks to fans daily.
McFadden has been involved with different types of charities, from basketball events to Magee-Womens Hospital at UPMC’s “Cooking and Eating for a Healthy Life” class. The reason was to help women who are either in treatment for breast cancer or are survivors so they can learn more about the importance of proper nutrition as a part of their treatment. When sport athletes take time out of their life and give back to the community they become more of a role model. When I was at training camp for my first time ever this year, I met a gentleman who stated he was fifty six years old and he feels like a kid again when meeting these awesome football players. My comment to this man was that we forget how old we truly are and we find ourselves saying we would like to play like that when we get older, than we realize later that the guys are younger than us. It is true though, you look up to athletes and admire who they are as individuals and you hope they can act like world class guys on and off the field. So with me knowing McFadden a little more with social media and knowing he cares about charity events, it makes you root for that ball player more.
One of my conversations with McFadden was how things appear to us when watching the game on television. Meaning on a punt most fans, unless you are die hard to that one sport figure will watch the punt get kicked and will wait for the ball to be caught by the kick returner. Never though do you look at the defensive players to see who is running down the field to make the tackle. So I totally told McFadden as a fan I will be honest with him and I basically judged him on special team and on defense and he thanked me for being honest. How many players do you know who will let a fan judge them for their playing ability in the National Football League? Not many players would be open to their fans on social media to even think like that. As well, not many players would be open minded of a fans judgement of how they played. With McFadden, no matter how great or good he was playing or does play, he wants to get better. The only man that I can compare McFadden’s drive to be better to, is none other than Ray Lewis. Everybody questioned how good Ray Lewis would be in that National Football league. Lewis was told he was too small, not big enough, not fast enough, and he didn’t have what it took. Were those critics wrong or what? In my lifetime Ray Lewis was the best to ever play the game. Lewis would leave his heart out on the field every single game. So in my opinion, I think McFadden will be determined to do the same.
McFadden gave me his football glove when I went to training camp, just like he said he would during one of our conversations. He truly is a man of his word and has been so honest with me from day one. The glove has been my favorite gift ever from a sports player! To McFadden he probably thought it was just a glove to give to a fan but to me it was way more than that. To me it was a glove that McFadden sweated in with his job status on the line for this year’s roster. It was a glove that he wore to help grip himself onto another player or another drill to make himself stand out more than others. It was a glove that McFadden wore with hopes of continuing to play in the National Football League. A glove that was given to me by a generous man who will be known as a great player and a great man. McFadden is chasing his dreams and is fighting to accomplish his greatest achievement yet.
I am a huge fan of Marshall McFadden and I think all of Steelers Nation should become a fan of his too. He is a great man on and off the field and I think in the future you will see tons of fans wearing number 40. So, you should get to know the man that wears that number now. He is a legend in the making!