The Steelers Got Genes: A Family Affair

May 7, 2022

How many NFL teams do you know have a set of brothers on their team? I’ll give you a second… the answer is seven. Okay, we remember siblings that played on opposite teams, like Ronde and Tiki Barber, Jason and Devin McCourty, and Eli and Peyton Manning. But the Pittsburgh Steelers have four of those seven sets of brothers on their team. T.J. and Derek Watt, Terrell and Trey Edmunds (Danville, VA, stand up), Carlos and Khalil Davis, and Connor and Cameron Heyward.

What Does This Mean For The Steelers?

Four out of seven. What does this mean? If we look a little closer at what this means (other than great genes), we can see that these players have enjoyed every moment competing against and with their siblings. Other sets of siblings include Travis and Jason Kelce, Michael and Martellus Bennett, Clay and Casey Matthews, Matt and Tim Hasselbeck, Vernon and Vontae Davis, and the list goes on.

During this previous draft, the Steelers selected Connor Heyward (Cameron Heyward’s little brother) in the sixth round with the number 208 overall pick. Connor said, “I honestly think when you have your siblings around, it makes you play that much better. They can push you to the limits that your teammates can push you to, and when your brother has been tough on you, think of look at that and be like, ‘OK, he’s being tough on me.”

Connor was a standout player at Michigan State. In his senior season, he had 35 catches for 326 yards and two touchdowns. As a junior, he had 65 carries for 200 rushing yards. According to position coach Alfredo Roberts, the Steelers plan on using six-foot, 229-pound Heyward as a tight end.

As a former athlete with an older sibling, there’s nothing cooler than being able to look up to someone close to you as a role model on the field. I come from a family of athletes, and I aspired to play volleyball and softball like my older sister, Krystal. Although she’s the taller of the both of us, we had similar athletic abilities. Often, athletic siblings get compared to each other in positive ways, but there is a lot of pressure that comes with this.

If two siblings are quarterbacks, there will always be comparisons and criticism such as “who has the better arm?”, “who is faster?”, and “who has the higher offensive IQ?” I am here to celebrate that these seven sets of siblings are living their dreams and still have a soft spot in their hearts for their siblings, even when they are on separate teams. Out of those seven, four of them belong to our legendary franchise. We know talent, heart, ability, and skills when we see them.

Coach Tomlin says, “We value the intangible quality. When you’re doing business with one, it probably gives you an indication about the intangible quality of the other. We’re all continually trying to measure that with which we cannot. That probably is what drives us towards the brother game.”

Sharing the same hometown as the Edmunds brothers is something that I am very proud of. When you drive out of the Danville city limits, there is a huge billboard sign of all three brothers (with Tremaine, a current player for the Buffalo Bills) and their father, Ferrell (another former NFL player). They continue to give back to the community every year, hosting different events, and it is amazing. All three brothers just recently had their high school jerseys retired as well.

I am very excited to see our Steelers siblings continue to make history for the organization.