View Full Version : Bires: McHugh rescued from Motor City mess

01-16-2009, 04:32 PM
Bires: McHugh rescued from Motor City mess
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff

PITTSBURGH— Sean McHugh probably won’t play a significant role in the AFC Championship game. But he’ll be there, and that in itself is one of the luckiest rags-to-riches stories in the NFL this season.

A tight end who also plays fullback, McHugh has literally gone from the outhouse to penthouse.

When the season started, he was employed by the hapless Detroit Lions.

But just before the season opener, management decided that McHugh couldn’t help them turn things around. So after working out with the Lions throughout the off-season and training camp, McHugh was cut on Aug. 31.

Imagine that.

Axed by a team what would go 0-16.

He wasn’t wanted by the worst team in NFL history.

But as fate would have it, McHugh wasn’t unemployed very long. He experienced a career-changing event when signed Sept. 3 by the Steelers.

“What a turn of events,” he said in wonder Thursday before practice. “To go from a team that would become the worst in the NFL to playing in the AFC Championship game and perhaps the big show, it’s just incredible. It’s hard to put into words how I feel right now.”

Several times during the season, McHugh called some of his former teammates in Detroit, encouraging them to keep the faith. He had spent close to four years in the Motor City. He felt bad for them as the losses, and ridicule, mounted.

In McHugh’s three years seasons with the Lions, including last year when he started 12 games at tight end, the Lions went 2-14, 3-13 and 7-9. There was hope this would be the year things changed for the better.

They didn’t.

Loss after loss after loss, the Lions bumbled their way into the record books and established a new low for futility.

As McHugh kept track of the hapless Lions, he was playing a supporting role in Pittsburgh as the Steelers kept winning and winning. They take a 13-4 record into Sunday’s AFC Championship against the Ravens.

“You go from the lowest lows to the highest high in only a few short months,” said McHugh, a former Penn State fullback. “I’m sitting there upset when the Lions released me. But the next thing you know it’s the middle of January and I have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. This is a dream come true.”

McHugh has not started a game for the Steelers. But he’s played in every game, either as an extra tight end or at fullback. Even though the Steelers don’t use their fullback a lot, it’s McHugh who’s now considered the first-string fullback, not Carey Davis.

McHugh has touched the ball only three times this year and probably won’t get any touches Sunday.

But it’s mid-January, and he’s still playing games that matter most.

Four months ago, he never could have imagined he’d be in this position.

01-16-2009, 04:38 PM
Any player that can help us get that Sixth Ring is welcome in the 'Burgh! :tt02:

01-16-2009, 04:51 PM
Gotta love the guy, he's from Penn State.

01-16-2009, 07:34 PM
Gotta love the guy, he's from Penn State.

Unless you're a Pitt fan :)

01-16-2009, 07:57 PM
Gotta love the guy, he's from Penn State.

Amen to that Brotha!!!

01-16-2009, 07:58 PM
he is a hell of a blocker! i am glad he is with our team for sure!!
HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!:tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02:

01-16-2009, 08:01 PM
If I recall, there were a few on here that commented (and I'm paraphrasing), "If he couldn't make it at Detroit, how the hell is he going to make it here?" Who knows I could have been one of them, just don't remember.

01-16-2009, 08:23 PM
Gotta love the guy, he's from Penn State.

Well said. :tt03:

01-17-2009, 12:27 AM
he's been another nice find by tomlin and crew. moore, leftwich, and mchugh were all solid pickups.

01-17-2009, 02:08 AM
he is a hell of a blocker! i am glad he is with our team for sure!!
HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!:tt02::tt02::tt02::tt02:

That's a stretch. From what I've seen he's a better blocker than Davis, and he's tall, but I think I'll need to see him sit Ray Lewis on his tail before I claim McHugh is one heck of a blocker. I'm glad he's here though. Question is, will he be happy being the next Dan Kreider. From what I've seen of this Steeler team they need a fullback that can block really well more than they need a 3rd string tight end or a fullback that can catch out of the backfield.

McHugh's goal should be to become the best blocker on the team. PERIOD.

01-17-2009, 12:37 PM
I tell you what, if McHugh gets a lot of plays in the I formation tomorrow that will be plenty of a significant role for me. I'd love to see a lot of collisions between McHugh and Ray Ray.