The Pittsburgh Steelers and defensive end Stephon Tuitt have teamed up to donate $10,000 to Casa San José, a center for Latino immigrants in Beechview.
The donation is part of the team’s 2020 Steelers Social Justice Grant program, in which players choose a cause to donate to, with the team matching the donation.
The @steelers have announced a donation to @CasaSanJosePGH from @DOCnation_7 with a matching contribution by the team as part of the Steelers’ Social Justice Grant program to help support community efforts.
— Steelers Community Relations (@SteelersCR) January 7, 2021
Casa San Jose was founded in 2013 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Biden, Pa. in order to help Latino immigrants become acclimated to their new homes in lives in Pittsburgh.
“The main idea was to help the Latino immigrants feel welcomed, feel like they belonged and to rejoice in their culture, but also help them acclimate to the way things happen in the United States,” finance director sister Karen Stoila said to Steelers.com. “We help connect them to resources, get their children in school, apply for SNAP benefits, and connect them with clinics and medical resources.”
Tuitt, who was recently named the Steelers’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award, felt that the immigrant community is especially vulnerable during the current pandemic and economic downturn.
“These people are like the first line of defense,” Tuitt said to Steelers.com. “When things trickle down, it’s the people who do the blue-collar jobs that are the first impacted. For me to be able to attach my name to them, and know I grew up in similar situation, around hard working family members that wanted the best for our family, but we didn’t have the means to provide what they wanted to do for us. A helping hand would have helped my own family overcome some things. That is why I like to do that, to have the opportunity to do that for other families.”
Other donations as part of the program have seen T.J. Watt give to 412 Food Rescue, Maurkice Pouncey to the Best of the Batch Foundation and Cam Heyward to Homewood Children’s Village.
Steelers’ Vance McDonald Reflects on Stiff Arm Moment, Relationship with Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers tight end Vance McDonald spoke to the media after officially announcing his retirement from the NFL. McDonald responded to a question about the play he’s most synonymous with by saying he embraces the famous stiff arm moment. He also detailed his interaction with Ben Roethlisberger when he told his quarterback he was planning to retire.
Steelers TE Kevin Rader Aced Week 17 Audition, More Coming in 2021?
The Steelers have an opening in their tight ends room, as four-year starter Vance McDonald retired on Friday.
That leaves Eric Ebron as the team’s projected starter for 2021, and that won’t be a big change, as Ebron out-snapped McDonald and started nine games to McDonald’s 12. Without another veteran option, it’s likely the Steelers will use fewer two-tight end sets, but the issue of backups will need to be addressed.
Michigan product and former fifth-round pick Zach Gentry has yet to be a factor through two seasons and missed most of 2020 with an injury, but as he’s under contract and the team is facing a salary cup crunch, he seems likely to hold onto that job.
The Steelers have options for a third tight end, securing the services of Dax Raymond and Charles Jones on reserve/future contracts for the 2021 season on Thursday. But the man that seems most likely to step up into that role is third-year pro Kevin Rader.
Rader, a Pine-Richland and Youngstown State alum spent his second season with the Steelers in 2020, but got his first taste of action in Week 17 at Cleveland with the Steelers choosing to rest starters.
He made the most of the opportunity, particularly on special teams, where he played in nearly half of the team’s snaps, made three tackles and drew praise from head coach Mike Tomlin.
“Guys like Kevin Rader had an opportunity to step up and play,” Tomlin said. “I think he had three tackles on kickoff. For an offensive player to have that type of contribution in net, in a coverage unit I think was impressive. That’s good for him. That’s good for us as we move forward.”
Rader is also on a reserve/future contract, with no guaranteed money for 2021, but if he can continue to show the ability to contribute on special teams and help as a blocker, where McDonald excelled and Ebron does not, it seems that he can certainly carve himself out a role in Pittsburgh in 2021.
Steelers to Host ex-Vikings OT Aviante Collins for Visit
The Steelers will host free agent tackle Aviante Collins for a visit, according to the NFL transactions page for Thursday.
Collins, 27, spent the last four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings after joining the team as an undrafted free agent out of TCU in 2017.
Collins played in three games in 2017 and two in 2019 for the Vikings, and spent all of the 2020 season on the practice squad, except for a one-week elevation in Week 11, in which he did not play.
The 6-foot-4, 292-pound tackle its a free agent after the Vikings decided to allow his practice squad contract to expire at the end of the season.
The Steelers have several free agents at the tackle position, including longtime starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, 2019 starting right tackle Matt Feiler and 2020 starting right tackle Zach Banner, who are unrestricted free agents, and backup Jerald Hawkins, who is a restricted free agent.
The Steelers have Chukwuma Okorafor under contract and Anthony Coyle, Jarron Jones, John Leglue and Brandon Walton signed to futures contract.