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A High School Biology Class Set Steelers Legend Dermontti Dawson on the Path to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Dermontti Dawson’s NFL career lasted quarterbacked 5 years on four different teams, and even though his teams never made it to the Super Bowl, he’s still being talked about as one of the top backs in the NFL. But did you know he was once a high school biology student?

At a recent high school biology class, a student asked Steelers legend Dermontti Dawson about how he got cut from the NFL. The linebacker replied, “One day I knew I was a football player. The next day, I was out.”

It was a small, softball-sized pebble that started young Pittsburgh Steelers running back Dermontti Dawson down the path that led to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In the end, it may not have been Dawson, Dermontti’s commitment to winning and physical power that pushed him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

All of this helped, as did Dawson’s six first-team All-Pro honors. But none of this would have been feasible if it hadn’t been for a high school science class.

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Dermontti Dawson (L) and Steve Parker, his former high school head football coach, in 2012. Dermontti Dawson (L), a Pittsburgh Steelers star, would never have made it to the NFL if it hadn’t been for Steve Parker, his former high school head football coach | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Dawson was 35 years old and more than a decade away from being inducted into the Hall of Fame when he played his last NFL snap in November 2000.

Dawson was recently rated 99th on The Athletic’s list of the 100 best footballers of all time. Dawson told The Athletic about a fortuitous meeting in high school that set him on the road to playing football.

That isn’t entirely correct. Dawson claimed he played tight end in ninth school but didn’t like the workouts, so he only played sporadically. In the autumn of 1981, when he was 16 years old, he ran into Steve Parker, the school’s head football coach.

“When I ran into him, he said, ‘Where have you been my whole life?’ and told me that I should be playing football. If it hadn’t been for him, I would have never played football.”

Dermontti Dawson

Parker mistook Dawson’s visit to the school for a school visit at the time. Parker would never have guessed that three decades later, he would be presenting his former player at the Hall of Fame.

If it hadn’t been for that discussion, Dawson would have most likely played a different sport in college.

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Dermontti Dawson.

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Dermontti Dawson. If it hadn’t been for a high school biology class, Pittsburgh Steelers great Dermontti Dawson may never have made it to the NFL | George Gojkovich /Photo by Getty Images

Dawson may have gone on to be a good college player even if he hadn’t talked with Parker. As a scholarship football player at the University of Kentucky, that just would not have occurred.

Dawson competed in the shot put and discus field events. He even won the Kentucky state shot throw and discus titles and never lost a competition. College coaches informed the famous center that he had Olympic potential, according to The Athletic.

Dawson received more scholarship offers for track and field than for football, but he picked football.

Dawson told The Athletic, “Those inflection moments in your life can be enormous.”

Dawson is regarded as one of the most significant players in the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Dawson, a second-round draft selection in 1988, went on to become a famous center and one of the Steelers’ most important players.

Dawson accumulated 122 Approximate Values in 13 seasons with the Steelers, according to Pro-Football-Approximate Reference’s Value methodology. That ranked seventh in club history heading into the 2021 season. With 197 AV, Ben Roethlisberger leads all players, while Mike Webster, who replaced the great center Dawson, is second with 150.

Consider all of the great players who have worn the Black and Gold in the past. With the Steelers, offensive tackle Alan Faneca and safety Troy Polamalu combined for 115 AV. Both will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. In nine seasons in Pittsburgh, Antonio Brown has 100 AV.

Dawson’s résumé is lacking one thing: a Super Bowl ring, yet he still made it into the Hall of Fame. What would have occurred if Dawson had dropped his textbook and left the classroom seconds later, never to see Parker again on his way to his next class? Bengals supporters, I apologize.

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Isaac Bruce and Shannon Sharpe have already predicted that DeVonta Smith will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Last week, Pittsburgh Steelers legend Dermontti Dawson was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Dawson was a standout player at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was the team’s head coach. When he was inducted into the Hall, he became the third player in team history, and the first from Pittsburgh, to be enshrined.. Read more about nfl hall of fame 2022 and let us know what you think.

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