Sep 192013
Pitt Script logo

… if they’re sincere enough.

Pitt Script logoTodd Thomas, the junior linebacker for Pitt, threw a hissy fit in training camp after he put on second string for one practice. Thomas quit the team but soon realized he had made a mistake. After a week, Paul Chryst told Thomas he could come back to Pitt football if his teammates accepted him.

After he informed the coaches of his wishes to return, Thomas said he had to talk to his teammates, particularly the seniors, and convince them he would come back as a committed member of the program.

They told Thomas he could come back, but only if he returned with an improved attitude, as well.

“The way I carried myself wasn’t really appropriate,” Thomas said. “So I just came back, did what I had to do, showed them that I could change and now I’m back and I’m thankful for that.

“I’m thankful to all the players, the freshmen on up, to coach Chryst and the staff for letting me come back.”

A sincere apology, eh. I like that.

This is a piece of what I’ve written before that college athletes are kids. Thomas did a stupid thing by quitting. He has always seemed like a good kid and according to reports at the time, even his high school coach was surprised by the abrupt decision. Fortunately, he repented quickly and came back to the team. He put his head down, worked hard and eventually re-earned his spot in the starting lineup.

Oct 292005

The preliminary list of candidates for induction into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame was announced yesterday. There are a number of great Steelers or Pittsburgh-related players listed including L.C. Greenwood, Donnie Shell, Dermontti Dawson and Jimbo Covert & Russ Grimm (who both played at Pitt and then on the famed Redskins “Hogs” lines). Dawson is in his first year of candidacy and so might not get in this year but he will eventually. I sincerely hope that Grimm & Covert get into the Hall at some point. 

It’s long been my position that Greenwood and Shell are most worthy candidates for election into the Hall of Fame. How can a member of the famed Steel Curtain defensive line not be elected?!  In addition, Shell was a great player on those teams, responsible for a lot of coverage and read assignments. 

There are those who will counter that there are already too many players from the 1970’s Steelers teams in the Hall of Fame. I fail to see how a great player can be less deserving because he played with other great players. Having said that, I must admit that I have my doubts as to whether Lynn Swann & John Stallworth deserved induction – not over L.C. Greenwood, not over Donnie Shell or even Andy Russell. 

It’s not fair to Greenwood that his greatness is often overlooked because he wasn’t as flashy as Mean Joe Greene or Jack Lambert or Lynn Swann or Franco Harris. Not having that signature moment that elevated Swann or some of the others shouldn’t diminish his candidacy nor should having played with other greats of the game.