View Full Version : Jeff Reed the Journalist

07-31-2009, 06:34 PM
Mr. Reed majored in Journalism in College this is his second published article about Training camp. According to Jeff ring #7 is on the way. It's a nice read


Rolex 18kt white gold President watch with diamond dial, $32,700. Simmons Jewelry Co. stainless steel link bracelet with rubber, $500, stainless steel link bracelet, $550, and stainless steel cross pendant, $180, all available at Louis Anthony Jewelers. Super Bowl Ring, Jeff’s own.

I mention this slogan because we are now in the midst of dreaded training camp. As we train in the off season, we have one goal in mind: to get a little bit better every single day we hit the field or weights or classroom. It’s nice for me because the classroom part is not as important as improving my leg speed, strength, flexibility, and accuracy. Five days a week I am working my tail off to become the best place kicker in the world. I have fallen short of that goal all seven of my years playing in this league.

Does that mean I accept the fact that I still have a job? No way. I am out to be the one and only best, not second best. Training camp is the combination of what you have done in the off season and what you plan on doing during the season. So in blunt terms, IT SUCKS! The best thing about it is that the coaches always sense what the most miserable day for each player will be or is. I don’t know how they do it, but they are mind readers when it comes to that. I sound a little pessimistic, don’t I?

There are, however, many brilliant aspects of Latrobe, Pa. The main one is team camaraderie. As we train and fight and bleed and sweat together, WE become ONE which turns into TEAM.We learn how to get each other’s backs through the awesome times and the not-so-great times when we may hear a few boos. We get to know our new teammates, not just the rookies, but the vets who have come to us from other organizations as well. We sit down and eat with one another three times a day; we ENCOURAGE the rookies to sing to us — usually their college fight songs — while we are eating; we have Bible studies on Sundays, or when we all want and need them; we have an offense-versus-defense softball game in which the special teamers just critique both teams, as if we’re better than all of them; we play Wii and Playstation; we learn about each other’s personal lives on our down time. The list goes on and on. The point of the matter is that training camp serves an awesome purpose no matter how much I — or we — mope, complain, and get frustrated.

I hadn’t heard of St. Vincent’s College until I became familiar and acquainted with the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers. This campus is beautifully set in the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania. The school has numerous male and female athletic teams, itsnewest being the football program. We use their football facility for the three weeks we are there. The weight room is stocked with a combination of what the Bearcats use and what strength coach Garrett Giemont brings for us. We dine opposite the other student athletes, but spend most of our stint in Rooney Hall. This dormitory has come a long way in the seven years I have been with the team.

It’s actually a really nice dorm that feels as close to home as possible for 20 days a year. As athletes and “hip” individuals, we try to make our rooms as “homey” as possible, like putting rims on a nice ride. From rented huge flat screens to rented recliners to rented refrigerators to rented queen-size beds, we are stylin’ and profilin’. As The Man says, “it is what it is.”

Moving from our kinda cozy getaway dorm rooms to the field, we catch on to many trends the days will bring us. If we can see the mountain tops in the morning, afternoon practice temperatures will be in the 70s or low 80s. On the flip side, if we can’t, practice will be extremely humid and probably in the upper 80s to the 90s. Isn’t that weird that the littlest things that become important to us at training camp? Practice can be brutal at times, but that’s what we call work. Complaining is inevitable in our workplace just like everyone else’s.

The fun for me comes in the “Friday night lights” practices during camp. We get more rest time during the day and sell out a local high school stadium at night (and we get a later curfew). These practices actually make us think we are performing for an audience. I never want to miss a kick. Troy [Polamalu] wants to get an interception. Santonio [Holmes] wants to make a ridiculous grab over a lonely db. Running backs and linebackers butt heads. And the guys in the trenches? They can have that job! It’s just another optimistic way to look at training camp. Having a little pressure gives us our “mojo” and really makes us strive to perform at our best.

"I am out to be the one and only best, not second best."

I can talk for days about the style and format of practices, our individual daily routines, my chance (after getting called out in front of the whole team by Coach T) to end practice early by making a 50-yard-plus field goal, the days we chant for buses to be by the complex for our bowling tournament, and the very intense fights that occur as a result of fatigue and sweltering temperatures. Why would I do that? It’s boring at times. I want to focus on the intensity of our fans.

“Come on, Reed! You have to be perfect…” I got that a few times at camp. “Will you go to the prom with my daughter this upcoming year?” That was different. “Why did you miss that one from the left hash?” “Why did you sign his ball but not mine?” Man…it gets crazier and crazier. My response to these awesome fans is that I will always do my best in everything I set out to do in my life. That’s all anyone can ask of me.

In all seriousness, Pittsburgh Steelers fans are the best in the world. They feel our pain in all we do, but have no mercy. You gotta love it. Every single practice that is open to the public includes thousands of fans. Just like I would plan a trip to the beach or Las Vegas, these fanatics plan a trip to Latrobe. That is the definition of dedication. Weekend afternoon practices may attract up to 12,000-15,000 crazy fans, some of which get the pleasure of lining the actual practice fields. Above all, we appreciate every last fan of Steeler Nation.

After we make our way through the sea of people up the hill heading into the complex, we are greeted by ones who make us smile … wounded warriors and troops from the U.S. Military, the handicapped that embrace us just because of who we are, and the terminally ill that are so extremely ecstatic when they could be so down. It really makes us look in the mirror when we’re complaining about a nagging injury or even about just practicing twice in one day. This paragraph gives me the chills. Anytime my teammates or I can put a smile on someone’s face, we do our best to get to each and every individual.

The most dreaded time of the year for NFL players, training camp, is now. However, the best time of the year follows that. It’s game time, and it’s time to chase our dreams…

I wrote this entire essay and failed to mention that we are the world champs for another year, the sixth time in franchise history. Although it’s on our minds each and every day we wake up, we realize, as a whole, that we have to move on and focus on now. Life is short, but the seventh world championship ring coming back to Pittsburgh, Pa., could only be six months away!

For more about the Pittsburgh Steelers, don’t miss WHIRL’s September issue, and check out our commemorative Super Bowl issue.

"The seventh Super Bowl ring coming back to Pittsburgh, Pa., could only be six
months away!"

Editor’s Note: Behind the Scenes with Jeff Reed

The world has seen Pittsburgh Steeler kicker Jeff Reed hike his leg and kick the football accurately many, many times. What most people may not know about Reed is that he was a journalism major at his alma mater, University of North Carolina, whose School of Journalism and Mass Communication is among the top in the country — and he’s an extremely talented writer. This is Pittsburgh Steeler kicker Jeff Reed’s second piece for WHIRL. We were so enamored with his writing in his first piece, “Team Resiliency,” in the WHIRL Super Bowl XLIII Collectors’ Edition, that we asked him to write an article that took us inside training camp. Reed jumped at the chance, again thanking WHIRL for giving him the opportunity.

We invited Reed to our North Shore office for a photo shoot — his first, he told us. As we asked him to pretend to kick the ball while looking at the camera, he obliged, telling us, “that is not proper form.” He accessorized with his first Super Bowl ring (at the time of the shoot, he hadn’t yet received the second one), and bling from Louis Anthony Jewelers. Upon hearing the price of the Rolex President’s watch — $32,700 — he jokingly asked, “You’re letting me wear this?”

Reed then came back to our offices to help select the images for the piece, and a few to send to his mom in Charlotte, N.C. As he looked over the contact sheets and came to the shots of him kicking, he said, “My form looks pretty good, but I should be looking down. But Megan [Wylie, WHIRL’s photographer], told me to look up. As long as my coach doesn’t say anything ... ”

As he flipped through the other images, he mused, “I look tougher than I am, probably because of the jewelry that I have on.” One of his favorite shots is of him looking at his first Super Bowl ring: “I’m looking at it like I’ve never seen it before,” he says.

Working with Jeff Reed has been an absolute pleasure — he is talented, gracious, and eager to do “whatever we want.” I can’t count the text messages that I have from him that say “thank you.” But really, Jeff, thank YOU. — Katie Mavrich

08-01-2009, 10:03 PM
awesome! he won't have 2 look hard for a job when his playin days r over...

which of course will be many many years from now...

08-01-2009, 11:25 PM
I ran into him one day at a service station in Heidelburg. He has an incredible orange Lamborghini. I was so enamored with the car, I didn't realize that it was Jeff Reed driving it until he walked past me to get in! lol