View From The Press Box
Eason counts his blessings
November 25th, 2010
Here is hoping that the raccoon was good wherever Nick Eason ate Thanksgiving dinner following Steelers practice Thursday.
Yes, raccoon has long been a part of Easonís Turkey Day feasts. And the veteran defensive end swears it tastes like a good side of beef, and is especially tasty when served with onions and peppers.
Hey, the man has earned whatever he wants to pile on his plate considering how much has been on it in a figurative sense.
Eason underwent an emergency appendectomy last spring, and complications from it were so severe -- he lost nearly 30 pounds -- that he told coach Mike Tomlin during a visit that he didnít know if he would make it out of the hospital.
Eason authored a remarkable recovery, and he has since helped the Steelers weather the losses of starting defensive ends Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel, who have missed nine games because of injuries.
Eason has started four games, and he has played well enough that the Steelers have not lost their grip on the NFLís No. 1 rank in rushing defense.
The first football player in Clemson history to earn a degree with two years of eligibility left has persevered not only through is own health problems but those of his parents.
His mother has been battling breast cancer and his father suffered a massive stroke after the Steelersí regular-season opener.
For the first month of the season, Eason would fly home to Georgia after games and then return on Wednesdays so he could help tend to his father.
Small wonder that his teammates voted him the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is given annually to a Steeler that has overcome adversity to return to the playing field.
What one of the friendliest players in the Steelers locker room has endured made this Thanksgiving especially meaningful to him.
ďIím just thankful for all of the little things,Ē Eason said.
The Steelers are no doubtful to have such a fine and courageous man representing them.