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Pressley Harvin Opens Up About Loss of Father, Grandmother During Season

The Pittsburgh Steelers rookie had to overcome two family tragedies during his first NFL season.

PITTSBURGH -- Pressley Harvin III's rookie season had ups and downs on the field, but the Pittsburgh Steelers punter had to overcome huge barriers off the field in his first NFL campaign. 

Throughout the season, Harvin lost both his father and grandmother. His father on Christmas morning and grandmother the night before the team's final regular season game against the Baltimore Ravens. 

"The biggest thing mentally that I found about myself off the field was that it’s OK to not be OK sometimes," Harvin said, talking about the loss of his loved ones during the season. "These last couple of weeks have been tough. When I first found the news out about my father, it was Christmas morning. I was supposed to be traveling to Kansas City, but I decided to go home. In that moment, in that car ride back, because flights were getting canceled left and right, I took a 10 hour drive back home. On that drive back, I took a little bit of a second to reflect on what my dad told me. 

"The biggest thing that he told me was whenever the time comes that he’s not going to be here anymore was to handle my business, take care of my family. That’s the biggest thing I learned during this season is my life is different now and I’m not home. I have this job of what is the NFL. But at the same time, you still have to handle your business outside of it. He really showed me that just by that small statement that he made was just to handle your business, but it showed me that you have to almost live two lives. When you’re on the field or in the building and when you’re outside of it. And I was trying so hard to make both of those come together, I finally realized when he said that to me that sometimes you don’t have to have it come together and sometimes you have to reflect back to your family and the ones that’s closest to you to give you that motivation during the year."

Harvin missed two games for the Steelers due to the loss of his father but Pittsburgh never strayed from the rookie punter. Despite averaging just 42.6 yards per punt on the season, Harvin remained the team's starter. 

Harvin said he leaned on the team's pastor Kent Chevalier and player development personnel Darrell Young during his family's hardships, but took a moment to share his appreciation for the Steelers as well. 

"I’m just truly appreciative of not even just those people, but also the Steelers organization and the Rooney family because when I first got up here, I was told the motto of the Rooney family was family, faith and football in that order. And that was something that you kind of hear all over the place, going throughout college, we always say we’re together, we’re family. I really, really felt that whenever we got the bad news about my dad and grandma. It was always family first," Harvin said. "This organization is definitely family to me. And I know it’s the same to them, as well. We kept our faith and the football was the part that is our jobs. But I was extremely blessed and appreciative of all the efforts this family and the organization gave to me."

Harvin's emotional journey throughout the season resonates with many within and outside of the organization. And taking a moment to listen to him tell his story is worth the time. 

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