Kelvin Beachum went to sleep last Thursday night following the Steelers final preseason game against the Carolina Panthers knowing he did exactly what Coach Mike Tomlin said.
“Coach Tomlin told us to control what you can control,” said Beachum. “Go out there and finish as hard as you can, know what to do and enjoy the game. I took that approach and did all I could. I got home, prayed, went to sleep and got on a plane the next morning and went about my day.”
While many rookies and young players waited in a hotel room in Pittsburgh for news of their fate on Friday, the day NFL teams had to get down to the 53-man roster, Beachum flew home to Texas for a few days to visit family while he waited for word on his football future.
“I knew whatever happened this was the last time I was going to see the family for a while, regardless of the situation,” said Beachum. “I wanted to make sure I got to see them, my grandparents, my little sister, I wanted to spend time with family before the decision came down.”
He didn’t have to wait too long for his phone to ring.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Beachum, the Steelers final seventh-round pick out of SMU. “Coach (Sean) Kugler called me around noon. I was in the car with one of my friends from school. I didn’t know what to think at the time. I wanted to be positive, but I didn’t know what to expect.
“He called and asked if I was waiting on a call. I told him yeah. He said what if that call is to tell you that you made the team. I told him that is what I am talking about, in a much more excited manner than that.”
And one of the best things for Beachum was he got to share that excitement and joy with his family right there.
“It’s wonderful, it’s indescribable,” said Beachum. “The emotions, the way your family is just overwhelmed that one of their own has made it to a level such as this.
“It was awesome. My parents were happy, my grandparents didn’t know what to say, what to think. It was an important moment and I am glad I made the decision to go there with them for that.”
Now it’s time for Beachum to take it to the next level. He saw the other side of what happens on cut down day when veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex was released. It opened his eyes to what it takes to make it in the NFL.
“I really see it for the business it is and how much work, time and commitment you have to put into this job and career to make it,” said Beachum. “Not only to make it, but to stay here. That is the thing now. Yes I made it, but now I have to put in even more work to stay here.”
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