PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – He’s provided local football fans with some magical moments.
However, on Sunday, when Darrelle Revis returns to Heinz Field, the New York Jets star and Beaver County native has a chance to help crush the dreams of Steelers fans and the team he grew up cheering.
Revis rose from humble beginnings in our region to become one of the NFL’s best players. Many people in his hometown still remember him growing up as a young Steelers fan.
Nearly four years ago, the Revis family gathered to watch Darrelle’s life change forever when he was drafted into the NFL.
“It was exciting for two reasons,” said Aileen Gilbert, Revis’ grandmother. “For Darelle, first of all, to live his dream; second of all, just the fact to see him move and mature.
Revis grew up in a home on Seventh Avenue in Aliquippa, and managed to stay out of trouble, which isn’t always easy.
“Darrelle has a superior support system between me, my daughter, my other four kids. His support system is very close,” said Gilbert.
That support system served him well as six of his high school football teammates from Aliquippa are dead.
“He’s always trying to reach young kids and boys [because] they need a positive role model especially in Aliquippa,” added Gilbert of her grandson.
Through high school and college he kept above the temptation of drugs and crime; it’s something the director of football operations at the University of Pittsburgh noticed as a native of Aliquippa.
“Not everybody can be an All-Pro cornerback in the NFL, but everybody can grow up to handle themselves and to be a person that Darrelle Revis is,” said Pitt’s Chris Lasala.
That’s why Revis’ return on Sunday brings mixed emotion in the Beaver Valley. There is happiness about his success and his high profile, but concern about his potential impact on the Steelers’ chances for the Super Bowl.
However, the game isn’t leaving Revis’ grandma torn between the Steelers and Jets. Even this week, she is proudly wearing her Jets shirts.
“I don’t have too many problems,” she says of wearing green and white. “One guy at the Y yesterday asked me, could I please keep my grandson home on Sunday.”