A year ago linebacker Marshall McFadden wasn’t playing football, and now this week he is busy preparing for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers placed linebacker Chris Carter on injured reserve with an abdominal injury and signed McFadden off of their practice squad.
McFadden will be utilized on special teams, playing on punt and kickoff coverage and return units.
“That is one of the reasons they are bringing me up, for special teams,” said McFadden. “If I can help by going out here and being a special teams’ player that is what I will do, put my hand in the pile.”
McFadden was not on an NFL roster in 2011, but was signed by the Steelers last January. He was released prior to the start of this season and re-signed to the practice squad.
“This means a lot,” said McFadden. “Sitting on the couch last year and not being with a team, it means a lot. I came a long way. It shows how dedicated I was to the game by working hard. It’s a blessing.
“When I came into this whole situation I wanted to do my best. I set a goal for myself and it was to get better each day and that is what I have done. I haven’t taken any steps backwards and I think that is why they feel comfortable with me.”
McFadden, who played at South Carolina State, said it has been hard watching the action for most of the season without playing and is happy to now have the opportunity.
“You go out here and compete,” said McFadden. “Football players are competitors and you want to play. But sometimes you have to wait for your turn. Until then you can only sit back and watch and learn. Once you get your chance you have to take advantage of it.”
Tags: Marshall McFadden
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Several Steelers’ players were cooking up a storm on Friday, not to feed their teammates, but instead to help women who are either in treatment for breast cancer or are survivors so they can learn more about the importance of proper nutrition as a part of their treatment.
Tackle Max Starks and linebackers Chris Carter and Marshall McFadden helped prepare a meal at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC’s “Cooking and Eating for a Healthy Life” class.
“It means a lot to be here,” said McFadden, who was first up making a pan seared chicken panini. “It’s great to come out in the community and show love and your sense of humor so hopefully you can make them feel better. Plus, football players are competitive so you give them any kind of task and they think they can do it. It’s fun going up there and showing I have a mixture of skills.”
Carter’s cousin and aunt and Starks’ mom are breast cancer survivors, so taking part in the class was special for them as well.
“It means everything to me because my family that experienced this is very close to me,” said Carter. “They have been there for me and for me to support something that affects them means a great deal. I am in a position where I can affect others in a positive manner, so why not take advantage of it.”
The players also prepared pumpkin chili and quinoa pudding with pistachio, pears and dark chocolate, all which they served to the ladies after making it.
“The patients idolize the Steelers,” said Judy Herstine, administrator of women’s cancer services at Magee Womens Hospital. “Nutrition is important to everyone and they can show with humor that you can make nutritious, healthy meals with fresh ingredients quickly. It’s great, the patients love it and I think the Steelers enjoy as well.”
The Steelers will celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month when they host the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field on Oct. 7 and the most noticeable aspect will be players wearing pink apparel, from sideline hats, to shoes, chinstraps and more.
“It’s important to promote early detection, making sure you take care of yourself and knowing the proper steps if you do find something,” said Starks. “I am glad the NFL takes this initiative. I look forward to wearing the pink stuff during October to show my support for everyone, more so my mom.
“It’s important to give back. My mother is now 21 years in remission and she is still around because people cared to help her through the process so it’s my duty to give back.”
The group all took part in a pink Terrible Towel twirl after the class ended, which was special for Elissa Ashwood of Pittsburgh who was diagnosed with breast cancer in January.
“It was moving to hear the players talk about their personal relationship with cancer,” said Ashwood. “You forget how many people are affected. It’s nice to know they are doing something positive.
“Support means everything. That is why we are wearing our Steelers stuff, because we support them. To feel like our favorite sports team is supporting us is awesome.”
* * *
In support of the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign in partnership with the American Cancer Society, the Steelers will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the team’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 7. The 2012 campaign, A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives, is targeted at encouraging annual mammograms for women over 40.
The Steelers will be selling breast cancer awareness merchandise at the game and through the team’s online store. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.
Breast Cancer Awareness elements will be seen throughout Heinz Field, including special game balls with pink ribbons, pink coins for the coin toss, pink apparel worn by players including cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline caps, chin straps and quarterback towels. In addition coaches and sideline personnel will wear special hats.
Breast cancer survivors will be honored at the game and every fan entering Heinz Field for the game will receive a pink Terrible Towel, sponsored by Ford and UPMC Cancer Centers.
Ford and UPMC Cancer Centers will also be presenting a check to the Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh Affiliate.
On Saturday, October 6th the Steelers will be a sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, starting at the North Shore Riverfront Park across from Heinz Field. Individuals can take part by calling 1-800-881-2345 for more information.
Heath and Katie Miller will host Bid For Hope XI on Monday, October 29 as they raise money and awareness to fight breast cancer through the Glimmer of Hope Foundation. For more information visit Bid For Hope.
Tags: Chris Carter, Marshall McFadden, Max Starks
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