The Pittsburgh Power have planted their roots deep into a city rich with sports history and tradition. In just their second season, the Power are looking to emulate the success and mentality Pittsburgh is used to in their sports teams.
What’s beneficial for the young franchise is having six players from the city that help spread the attitude that is expected from its players. Offensive linemen Beau Elliott (Highlands, IUP,) defensive back Ricky Gary (Pitt,) quarterback Bill Stull (Seton LaSalle, Pitt,) wide receiver Oderick Turner (Pitt,) wide receiver Mike Washington (Aliquippa,) and fullback Tyre Young (Woodland Hills, IUP) are all hometown talents that know what it takes to be successful in the City of Champions.
Washington is a product of one of the most prolific football towns in the country and knows all about the grind of being a football player in Pittsburgh. Cut from the same cloth as NFL stars like Jonathan Baldwin, Darrelle Revis, Ty Law and Tony Dorsett, Washington works to ensure that his name can be mentioned as one of the great Aliquippa athletes.
“The tradition and prestige we’ve got out at Aliquippa means a lot,” Washington said. “The athletes come from out of there like an assembly line. I’m just holding down for my city and my town where my roots came from.”
After leaving his hometown to play college football in Hawaii, for Washington to be able to continue his football career professionally in Pittsburgh is just a plus.
“How it panned out playing here just worked out for the better because playing in
Hawaii my family didn’t get to see me play every game,’ he said. “You’ve really got to do what’s best for you. Everything looked good here and I love me some black and gold.”
Being close to family is a big reason for why Elliott decided to return home after spending a few seasons in Chicago.
“It’s been a great opportunity for family and friends to be able to come see me who haven’t been able to see me in the past years that I’ve played,” Elliott said.
His experience in Chicago teamed with what he expects to do here in Pittsburgh have made Elliott very driven toward turning this season around for the Power.
“My three years in Chicago, I think we had less than 20 losses,” he said. “Definitely accustomed to winning. Not accustomed to losing. I want to try to get this thing back on track.”
Both Washington and Elliott are captains, meaning they know what is expected from a city that loves their football teams and wants them to be successful. They are the guys who their teammates look up to for guidance on what it takes to be a Pittsburgher.
“I’ve never been a vocal guy. I just bring my lunch pail to practice, to my work and go home and hope that people emulate what I’m doing,” Elliott said.
“I think the players who aren’t really from here don’t know how much football means to a lot of Pittsburghers,” Washington added. “You have to have tough skin to play in this city. You have to hate losing more than you love winning.”
Washington and Elliott understand the mentality of the city, being that they were born and raised here, but for someone like Oderick Turner, coming here was a choice. From Teaneck, New Jersey, Turner decided to attend Pittsburgh to play his college ball. After a year in the Southern Indoor Football League, it was Turner’s choice to return to the city he went to college in to continue his career.
“Leaving college it always felt like I left something here,” Turner said. “Like I didn’t get to finish the way I wanted to. I’ve made really good friends here and the town is a really big sports town especially when it comes to football.”
Turner is proof that the physical Pittsburgh football attitude can be learned and utilized to be successful. He and the other five guys that have a knowledge of the city’s history will be key in helping this franchise develop history of it’s own.
“I really want to be here and help this organization and bring the Pittsburgh attitude here,” Washington said. “It’s a football city. It’s expected to win out here.”