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Tyronne Stowe, Steelers linebacker, 1987-1990

March 23, 2014

First, can you let readers know about your post-NFL career as a pastor. Tell us how you get started and why?

Well I was raised in a Christian household and going to Church was not optional. I was going and yet was not really living the life I was being taught. I believed in God. I loved God, yet I did not develop the disciplines required for a life pleasing to God. I was lost in the world in a world of sex, drugs, drinking, lying, cheating and Football…

I didn’t really know who I was and what was I called to do, and I tried allot of things and yet was none the better. Growing up and discovering was challenging. One thing I did know, I wanted to play football.

Pittsburgh was a great party city for me, and I enjoyed every minute of the funny. But I was very distant from God, yet still going to church. Is that you today?

Leaving the Steel City to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, Changed my life. Older now with children and married, I made a decision to give my all to God. I joined a Church and gave my all to the Church and my pastor.

God slowly moved me up to a Deacon. I was happy and growing in my walk with God, I taught Bible Study and taught children’s Church. Then in 19995 and 1996 I broke my arm with the Seattle Seahawks and my career was over. The pain of the break has separated me from the love of my life, football.

Church became my refuge, out outlet and release and redemption from pass sins and transgressions. Moving on to be a Minister, Elder, Pastor, and today Bishop Stowe of Gospel 4 Life Church. I’m still working on Sunday, my work is just on another field, and winning is still the goal. Pro 11:30: The fruit of the righteous is the tree of life and he who win souls is wise. My position has changed, yet my mission is consistent, still bringing down the opposition.

You have an event coming up soon in Pittsburgh – can you let us know more about this and how people can get involved and attend?

New Life Ministry: Spring Fling, May 2, 3, 4, The Corner of Forth and Viola, Duquesne, Pa 15110

Call 412- 758-8214 for more information and times

What lessons from your time in the NFL do you take with you and use as a pastor?

That making the big plays in life all starts with us doing the little things over and over again. Running through the tires and daily drills is what make big plays possible. Staying focused on the goal, and forgetting about the past or the last play. Concentrate on today and the next.

Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14 but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Knowing that God have given us everything you need to succeed.”  Make the most of your opportunities that life present and be success. I was cut four times from the NFL. I didn’t quit, and am now receiving a retirement check, because I keep my eye on the prize or goal.

Did the NFL provide any post-NFL career services to help you adjust to the after-NFL life?

No, No- it’s terrible this billion dollar company has this attitude toward past players. I saw a special on HBO – Inside Sports with Bryant Gumbel. A new white boy is helping the negro league baseball player get a pension for their years of service. The baseball league is paying them. They never played for them –  it was a separate league. These men are paid around the same amount or just a little less than I’m getting from the National Football League. Most of us can’t afford to take our families out to see a game we were a part of.

In ’87, you were came to the Steelers after attending school at Rutgers. How as that for you?

I was not a drafted pick, I was a free agent. I played during the strike and made the team after the strike was over.

Were you excited to sign with the Steelers and what did you do to make the team your rookie year – what do you think the coaches saw in you?

Yes, I liked the Steelers – and Chuck Noll and Coach Tony Dungy and Coach George Stewart they gave me a chance.

One truth that Football and the sporting world has taught me is you can never have too many tough people on your team. Chuck Noll took a chance on me, I had made a big mistake, and he and the coaching staff gave me a second chance. He said, “You can’t have enough tough people on your team.”  I never failed, his trust again. Tough people make it through tough times, to come out even tougher.

Who on the Steelers team helped mentor you and help you adjust to the NFL and the team culture? And how hard was the adjustment for you?

No one really mentored me. I wasn’t ready for it yet. There were great leaders on this team though.

There was a very deep linebacker corps then- Merriweather, Cole, Hinkle, Little, Nickerson, Bingham were all there then – how did everyone get along and handle the competition for playing time-  and were you content with your role there?

I learn a lot From Cole – Little. Merriweather were great guys also and had a great work ethic. Hardy Nickerson and Greg Llyod – I was very close with them also. We got along well because we respected what each one of us could do to help us win.

Competition was part of the job – it wasn’t a problem.

No, I was not content with the playing time and that is why I left. I broke the starting lines with the Cardinals and Redskins and Seattle.

The ’87-’90 years were tough for the team. What caused some of the struggles on those teams over those three years and how did the players and coaches handle those struggles?

I’m not quite sure on the struggles, because I was in my own personal struggle of just getting on the team and staying on the team. Someone got hurt and I went from play football to babysitting my daughter. What a change in occupation in a week!

You read a lot about the loss of leadership on the current Steelers team as it looks to transition from veterans to younger players. Who were the leaders on the Steelers teams you played for and how did they assert themselves as leaders?

Looking at now it was easy to see that we lacked leadership, and yes some of the stars, they didn’t shine as they wanted too. New leaders were emerging like Hardy Nickerson and Greg Lloyd. We had no leader to look to when the chips were down.

You read a lot about the loss of leadership on the current Steelers team as it looks to transition from veterans to younger players. Who were the leaders on the Steelers teams you played for and how did they assert themselves as leaders?

Terry Long, Mike Webster, Donny Shell, DeWayne woodruff, Stallworth, Mark Malone, Bryan Hinkle …  They played as best they could, and headed team meetings. They did their best!

Humor plays a big part in keeping teams loose. Who were some of the guys on the Steelers teams you played for that helped keep things light, and how did they do so? Any examples of the hijinks/personalities?

Larry Griffin, Cornell Gowdy, Rod Woodson, Bubby Brister-  country  boy quarterback!

After four years with the Steelers, how difficult was it for you to leave the team for Phoenix in ’90 and what caused the move?

It was hard to move.  I love the team and the city. I just had to move for money and a chance to start.

What are your favorite moments as a Steeler?

When I knocked Robert Delpino out on Monday night football. We were playing against the Rams in 1990. Everybody called from everywhere about the hit! He was out for two time outs and four commercials!

Any last thoughts for readers

Life is what you made it. Don’t blame anyone for where you are in life. You are there because of the choices and the decision you have made, God is merciful and kind know that today is a new start, to make new choices. Don’t stay stuck, The best is still yet to come for you.

Keep you dream alive. Proverbs 24:1-For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.

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