Chris Calloway, Steelers Wide Receiver, 1990-1991
First, can you let readers know what you’ve been doing with yourself since you retired from the NFL and how you got involved in this work?
Since retiring from the NFL in 2001, I got into some entrepreneurial things such as real estate, night club ownership, IT executive recruiting and Network Marketing which all ended around 2009.
After that I interned with a couple of NFL teams (Miami and the Ravens). Currently I am looking for an opportunity in sports, preferably as an assistant player developement guy with a NFL team.
You were the fourth round pick of the Steelers in 1990 – how excited were you to be picked by the Steelers and what did they tell you when you were selected?
I was very excited to get the call from the Steelers because it was a dream come true to actually have a chance to play in the NFL. I honestly don’t remember what was said, I guess I had too many hits to the head, cause it’s been over twenty years ago.
Who helped mentor you as a rookie and helped you adjust to the NFL – both on and off the field – and how did they do so? Any examples?
Louie Lipps and Dwight Stone had a big influence on me when I first arrived. Both helped me make the on field adjustments needed to become a relevant rookie.
Coach George Steward was a big help as well, helping with subtle on field details. Off the field, I was on my own with hangout partners like Eric Green, Tim Worley Dwight Stone, Barry Foster, Warren Williams, Ernie Mills and Derek Hill.
Bubby Brister had taken over as the starting quarterback in ’90. How was he to play with – both in the huddle and in the locker room?
Bubby was great to play with. He was high-strung and a winner. He was a good teammate and an even better person. Ate my first crawfish etouffee at his home in Louisiana.
The team struggled offensively in ’90 – what was behind those struggles and how did the team work it’s way out of them?
I can’t put my finger on the problems but we probably didn’t have enough talent in key positions.
The team had good talent at the receiver position with Lipps, Graham, Stone, Mills….what role did you try to carve out for yourself there and how competitive was the receiver corps with each other?
The competition in the NFL is very competitive at every position. Every year someone is trying to take your position, thru the draft or with players already on the roster. I just continued to improve and work hard year after year to survive and make the team.
After two seasons, you found yourself in New York. What happened to prompt that move and how difficult was that for you?
When Bill Cowher came in, he gave me an opportunity to stay or test the Plan B market. With myself and advice from my agent, I decided to test the market which eventually made me more money. Who knows what would have happened if I would’ve stayed (Super Bowl??), but I was happy with my eleven-year career.
Who were some of the toughest players you face while in Pittsburgh – both in practice and on game days, and what made them so tough?
Going against Rod Woodson was tough for a 5′!0″ receiver like myself. Because he was big and fast, he was a tough defender. Don’t remember any one player that made it difficult in the game. Played a lot on special teams and that was a challenge.
Your play, at least statistically, improved nearly every season up through 1998. Did you feel your game had improved and do you feel you were given a real chance to contribute in Pittsburgh? Why/why not?
That was my goal to improve each year of my career. I was definitely given a fair shot with the Steelers and was very grateful. Just to get on the field playing special teams was a treat; however, I always knew I was good enough to be a starting receiver in the NFL.
Who were the biggest characters on the Steelers teams you played for and what made them so? Any examples/funny experiences?
Once again, the twenty-year absence makes it difficult to remember specific stories; however, Tim Worley, Eric Green and Derek Hill provided the most entertainment by far. And if I had to choose one, it would be Tim Worley lol.
What are your best memories of your time in Pittsburgh?
Being drafted by a great organization like the Steelers, coached by a great coach like Chuck Knoll and the loyal fans that supported us through the wins and loses.
Any last thoughts for readers?
I am very honored and Blessed with the opportunity to have played in the NFL and cherish the comradery and memories of all my teammates.