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Live Chat

 
Live Chat Transcript with Steeler legend Mr. Andy Russell
 
Date:   Thursday, October 9th, 2008
Time:   8:00pm-8:30pm EST / 5:00pm-5:30pm PST
 

 
     All members are invited to participate and will have exclusive access to Mr. Russell to pose their questions to.  Members must have activated their accounts and have a username and password set up to be able to SIGN-IN and participate.  If you have not yet activated your member account please visit http://www.steelcitymafia.com/ssp/account_activation to do so.  Member questions will be screened for content, validity and tact and forwarded to Mr. Russell.  He will try to respond to as many questions as possible in the 30 minute timeframe.  Being the first installment of this great new interactive feature we hope that as many members as possible participate to make it a success!!!
 
 

Archived Sessions

    Andy, Shawn from the SteelCity Mafia here. First of all thank you so very much for donating your time and giving our members the opportunity to pose their questions! We are thrilled to have had you as our first Live Chat guest, and hope it went smoothly for you. Again thank you very much for your time. One final question to ask if you don't mind. Of all the Steelers fans and clubs you have encountered, what if anything has been unique about working with the SCM Family?
    By Shawn Kennedy From Johnson City, TN
     
    "The SCM is an outstanding organization and they are the first organization I have ever worked with who have exceeded what they originally offered. I am committed to help the SCM grow even larger and work with them where it counts. ~ Andy"
     
    In a few short words...describe the man Art Rooney Sr.
    By Jason Kral From Jacksonville, FL
     
    "Jason ... The Chief was a wonderful person who came to every practice, encouraging us, praising us and he made every Steelers team feel as though we were part of his family--a great man to play for and his whole family followed well in his footsteps. I have great admiration for the Rooneys."
     
     
    What player was the most significant locker room leader during your time with the Steelers?
    By Emily Jones From Fairfax, VA
     
    "I think leadership is often exaggerated, as there were few players who would give speeches in the locker room or in the huddle--leadership is more by example. Who are the players who play hurt, who don't make mistakes, who give it their all every play, who compliment their teammates when they do well and comfort them when things go bad. There were many leaders in the locker room during the 70's and I learned from all of them."
     
     
    What, in your opinion, was the best game performance that you had as a pro?
    By Jason From Phoenix, AR
     
    "I'm not sure I have an answer for that. Back in the 60's, our coach, Bill Austin, graded us on every play and I remember getting some pretty good grades but don't really remember in which game. Chuck Noll didn't grade us but he let us know when we did well."
     
     
    WAS THE TRANSITION OUT OF FOOTBALL HARD FOR YOU?
    By TIM SCHWARTZ From THIBODAUX, LA
     
    "Yes and no, as I was very prepared for it. Chuck Noll, our great coach, always told players he released that it is time for you to go seek your life's work. I never wanted him to tell me that, so I decided to retire on my own terms after the 1976 season (the one that has been picked as the best team of the 70's even though we didn't win the S.B.). When the Steelers offered me a two year extension on my contract I refused and when I spoke with Coach Noll, when he asked why I was leaving, I told him that I was going to seek my life's work.' Actually, I had prepared for it for many years, as I had started my own business (syndicating deals for Wall Street) back in 1969, going to meetings before and after practice, making more money in my business than the Steelers were paying me. Despite that preparation I did initially miss the game, the challenges, the great teammates and even the pain."
     
     
    What advice would you give to a high school or college player with visions of playing in the NFL?
    By Cindy Lamb From Pass Christian , MS
     
    " I never got ahead of myself. When I was in Highschool I never thought about playing college ball, concentrating instead on the challenges of the next game. While in college I never thought about playing Pro Ball--just focusing on our next challnege--one step/game at a time. In fact my father, a successful businessman, made me promise that I would never play Pro Football. When I asked him why, he said, because it would embarass the family to have a son play a game for a living. Obviously, he relented when I explained that I had gotten a signing bonus--being a Scot, he didn't want to send me any money.

    Good high school players should spend their time thinking about improving their play at the high school level--if they are good enough, the colleges will come and they can worry about that later. You probably know that the percentage of high school kids who make it to the college level is very low and the kids who go to the pros is even lower. And if you even make it to the pros, the average player only plays about 3 years and then it is on to seeking his life's work."
     
    WHAT WAS JACK LAMBERT LIKE OFF THE FIELD ?
    By TIM SCHWARTZ From THIBODAUX, LA
    "Tim ... Jack Lambert is a very smart guy and he is a classy individual.
    Granted, he is a tough, no nonsense kind of guy but he had good
    relationships with his teammates. His smarts and techniques on the
    field helped him become the greatest middle backer of those years.
     
     
    Andy, Dick Butkus would be considered the signature linebacker of your generation of players, known for his great technique and toughness, playing football the way it was meant to be played. Which linebackers in today's NFL stand out to you as exhibiting the qualities that make them special at the position?
    By Scott Toole From Bethlehem, PA
     
    "Dick Butkis was a great player but I do believe that Jack Lambert was better. Why? Because he was faster and we could execute pass defenses (over 50% of the game in those days--even more now)that the Bears couldn't even consider. Lambert was capable of covering man to man receivers Butkus would never have been asked to cover. He may not have been as big as Butkus but he never missed any tackles and I don't think the opponents thought he hit softly. There are many outstanding middle linebackers today--i.e in Baltimore and Chicago."

     

    Which NFL player did you idolize growing up?
    By Mr. Steeler From Jacksonville, FL
     
    "I grew up before television, getting our first set when I was about 12 years old and, therefore, didn't even watch professional football until I was in highschool. However, I greatly admired Sam Huff of the New York Giants and remember watching the television program about him called The Violent World of Sam Huff."
     
     
    How would you best explain why several media sources have gone public lately declaring Steelers Nation as the best fan base in the NFL?
    By Mr. Steeler From Jacksonville, FL
     
    "I first played for the Steelers in '63 and we almost won the NFL championship that year and we had a lot of very excited fans. Later, in the 70's, I would see that enthusiasm grow to an unheard of level. There were games where we players knew that if we couldn't win the game ourselves, that our fans would come down on the field an do it for us. Later,in the mid 70's, Ray Mansfield and I traveled (five years in a row) around the world giving speeches, clinics, interviews, etc. to the Global Steelers nation--amazing!!"
     
     
    What influence does your experience as a player for the Steelers play in your role with your foundation?
    By Mr. Steeler From Jacksonville, FL
     
    " Without my relationship with the Steelers I would not be able to raise any where near the amount we raise for our Family Charitable Foundation. I am forever grateful that the Rooneys gave me the opportunity to play for such a wonderful team and, to this day, age 66, it continues to influence my life in very positive ways."
     
     
    What inspired you to create your foundation?
    By Mr. Steeler From Jacksonville, FL
     
    "The Rooneys taught us that it is important to give back to the community and most of the players, back in the 70's, were all involved in meaningful charitable efforts. I started our annual golf tournament the year I retired, 1976, raising money for Children's Hospital, and we now raise most of the money for the UPMC (Pgh's largest employer and now the owner of Children's Hospital) and we give to their cancer research efforts and other childrens charities."

     

    What charities does the Andy Russell Foundation support? And what can I do to support the cause?
    By Garrett Kennedy From Pittsburgh, PA
     
    "Our family charitable foundation supports many meaningful charitable efforts. As mentioned in my previous response, our annual celebrity golf tournament (this is our 33rd year) raises money for the UPMC prostate cancer research and many other meaningful charitable efforts to help children. In the past we have supported trainers for inner city football teams, helping those kids have their ankles wraped and injuries attended to. We give money to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Pittsburgh, helping young kids have activities and events after school to keep them busy and help them stay out of trouble. We are blessed to be in this community where we have so much support"

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