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Pete Gonzalez, Pitt Quarterback, 1993-1997, Steelers Quarterback, 1997-1998

March 28, 2012

Pete Gonzalez:

First, can you tell readers about Blitzx – what the product line is and how it got started? 

The entire purpose of Blitz X Performance Instruments is to provide, Medical Doctors and chiropractors with medical technology that help them asses and treat patients better.  The technology must be able to generate a significant profit for the medical business as well!

We currently offer the Yolo Curve LipoLaser.  This technology allows  a physician to address unwanted fat area on a patient.  Non invasive fat spot reduction!!  Great technology.

As of 2012 we are launch a new unit that has a few reimbursable CPT Codes.  This unit will primarily go in Family Care, General Care or Cardiologist offices.  People can go to our website for more info:  www.blitzx.com

What else are you doing with yourself since football, and did you take advantage at all of the NFL and NFLPA career programs? 

I like coaching –  sales coaching!  I consult with companies and strategies on how to help their sales team perform better.  I work with small companies that have 100 employees and a small sales team.  You would be amazed how many companies give a person a business card and ask them to be a sales quarterback.

What are your thoughts on Pitt’s bevy of coaching changes and move to SEC?

Oh, boy!  The coaching fiasco was very disappointing!

The SEC move, it is what it is!  Business!  If Pitt can generate better revenue then it’s a good move. I’m not one of those folks that’s blinded by the fact that NCAA sports is a business.

My concern would lie in the fact that we lost two recruiting classes with the whole hire-a-coach, fire-a-coach-hire another coach and he leaves.

Seems like the SEC is stacked with with speed and size.  Hopefully, we are in a position to compete and not be everyone’s homecoming game.

You were part of one of the most exciting backyard brawl games – the 41-38 victory over WVU in double overtime. What did that mean for the team and what are your thoughts on the backyard brawl – should it continue? 

Well many will argue that’s it was one of the most important games in the history of Pitt football.  Us, winning that game and going to a bowl set the stage for the recruitment of Antonio Bryant, Rod Rutherford, Lusaka Polite, Gerald Hayes, Shawntae Spencer—I can go on forever!

The 1997 team wanted to leave Pitt better than when we arrived in 1993!  Johnny’s first year back!!  I can honestly say we did!  Pitt went on a great bowl run, BCS bowl appearance, and since 1997 we have produced lot’s of draft choice.

Actually, if you look at the NFL game today, the top two players at their position are Panthers—Darrel Revis, and Larry Fitzgerald.  Both came to Pitt because of the ground work that was laid before them.

About the backyard brawl!  This is Sad!  It should be a game that needs to always be played.  To me you make this game happen for your fans, your students, and the importance of tradition!!

You can’t expect management to know how important a game is if the never played in it!!!!  That tradition was built on the blood and pain of football player!  Yes, it was the most painful game I every played in!!!

How did you get picked up by the Steelers and how exciting was it for you to play for the Steelers after time at Pitt? 

Tom Donahoe wanted me as a free agent! He saw something in me and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity.  When guys say the Steelers are first class—that’s the truth!! My experience with the Steelers was incredible!

Who helped mentor you most as a rookie – both on and off the field – and how did they do so? Any examples? 

I wasn’t really close with many guys!  I got along with everyone and developed some friendly relationships while I as on the team.  Mike Tomczak taught me how to be a professional.  He was a great example and I hung on every word.  Heck, when you stick around for 17 years-you know a thing or two!!LOL

Jim Sweeney was the best!  He really cared for me in the huddle! He made sure I was calm and composed!  To this day I call him DAD!  Jerome was my locker neighbor!!  As we all know, he is awesome!  Great person, great son, and great teammate.

It was hard to get close to guys when you are the guy that teams are trying to get rid of ever year!  I’m closer to guys now after our playing days. LOL Go figure!

What were your strengths and weaknesses as an NFL quarterback and how did the coaches work with you on those? 

I was a football player.  Not a football model.  You know the football models, 6 foot 4 inches, can throw the ball a mile, cocky, entitled because they got a couple of awards in college!!!  That’s not what you get with me!!

I believe that when you look at my body of work—it says one thing—football player!  Mentally strong and willing do whatever it takes to not let his teammates and coaches down.  Walt Harris and Tom Donahoe can vouch for that!  Oh, smart as well!  Play the game!!

You were part of a quartet of quarterbacks including Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak and Anthony Wright. Tell us about Stewart and Tomczak – how they were viewed by the rest of the team in terms of leadership. 

Kordell was amazing—before we had Vick, Newton, or other mobile quarterbacks, we had Kordell!  He was ahead of his time!! Kordell was smart, fast and tough!!

T-Zak, was a great mentor and teammate.  He should have been calling plays.  Mike knew his stuff!  He really wanted Kordell to do well.  Heck, I would to!  Mike was 37, if Kordell got hurt—Mike would have to play! Not good for a 37 year old…LOL  No, seriously, Mike taught us how to be professionals at our trade.

Yeah, that’s when I saw the writing on the wall.  Kevin Gilbride really like Anthony Wright, that was his guy.  I was a Ray Sherman and Tom Donahoe guy!  Anthony was a Bill Cower and Kevin Gilbride guy.  Need I say more?

However, Anthony had talent and he was great guy.  I’m glad he had a good run and lived out a part of his dream.

 You ended up with a perfect completion % in Pittsburgh – 1-1 with a completion to Hines Ward. In a way, you are responsible for Ward hitting that 1,000 mark!  Seriously though, was it frustrating for you not to get more chances to start and play regular season games?

I had good chemistry with Ward.  I’m sure it’s because he was a quarterback playing WR. He thought just like me!!

The playing part! I was always ready to play every game.  One thing about me, I knew my stuff! I believe, when preparation meets opportunity you never look back!!!  My intent was to never look back!!

What are your best memories as a Steeler, and what makes them so? 

One incredible memory was receiving the phone call that I had made the team!! Wow!  In everyone’s eyes I was the camp arm, local guy from Pitt, ugly duckling of quarterbacks.  God game me a platform to glorify him with the skills he gave me!!    Making the team was huge!

Our first game at Baltimore that year was a lasting memory!  But the one I really enjoyed most was Monday Night at KC.  Wow!  Electrifying!  The music, the fans, the celebrities, the whole country watching.  It was incredible!

Last thoughts for readers? 

Thank you for all the years of support!!

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