For Christian Scotland-Williamson it was a dream come true when he was selected to be the NFL International Pathway candidate to go to Pittsburgh and become a member of their practice squad.
Although born in London, Christian doesn’t consider himself a city boy. He left for boarding school aged 11 and then went to Loughborough University before playing for the Worcester Warriors.
Living in Pittsburgh and playing for the Steelers is a dream come true for Christian. Anyone who has visited Pittsburgh will know it’s a great city without being an overpowering metropolis. “Pittsburgh is the perfect blending,” he acknowledged. “As a city, there’s lot to do, but I also have my own space.”
The ex-rugby player knows how lucky he is. “I am honestly blessed to be there. In my wildest dreams, I never thought for a single moment I would be playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL.”
I reminded him how happy he appeared on the videos when he received the news of where he would be playing. “I was in shock,” Christian admitted. “Really! I honestly could not believe it.”
When I queried why he couldn’t believe it, he reacted enthusiastically, “Imagine being told that Santa Claus is real, and you get to meet him. The first time I get to Pittsburgh and walk past those trophies and I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god, I’m actually here.’
You have to remember I watched every single ‘America’s Game’, ‘A Football Life’, all that stuff, I loved the Steelers. When I was at Uni or with my team in Worcester, I watched Shazier. As a casual fan I’ll be watching anything I could get my hands on although it was difficult watching the late Sunday night game when I had Monday practice for rugby.”
CHRISTIAN COUNTS HIS BLESSINGS
Every Steeler fan in the UK would love to be Christian shoes. Every Steeler fan in the UK will agree when he concedes, “It’s just kinda surreal. Especially for an English player so I really count my blessings.
I’m enjoying every single day of it and I don’t take it for granted because I know how quickly it can end. It’s been a crazy ride trying to make sure I get extended and make the most of the opportunity because they don’t come around often.”
Christian recognises the challenges he has to overcome. “I really sacrificed and dedicated everything to it because there’s such a big gap to close.”
When Christian came over for the Academy try outs at the end of June, it was his first visit home since his dream began. Such is his commitment on making it in the NFL.
SteelerNationUK will continue to follow their man in Pittsburgh and hopefully there will be a meetup arranged in the future if he gets some time on a visit to these shores.