Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns is only in his second season in the NFL.
However, in a short time he has clearly earned the admiration of his teammates. They voted him to be the Steelers’ Ed Block Courage Award recipient.
“The manner in which he’s met the challenges that life has presented him is truly remarkable. This is a 22-year old guy that’s parenting teenagers,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said during the ceremony, via the team website. “I have teenagers; I’m 45. We share conversations about the parenting of these teenagers.”
Artie Burns won the 2017 Ed Block Courage Award, given for perseverance and overcoming challenges. pic.twitter.com/xTGHucEFwK
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 7, 2017
During Burns’ junior year at Miami, his mother died from a heart attack. With his father imprisoned on a drug trafficking conviction, that left then 21-year-old college student with the responsibility of raising his two teenage brothers, along with an infant son.
The four of them, along with his girlfriend, now live together in the Pittsburgh area.
The Steelers selected Burns in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft to help shore up a pass defense that had struggled in recent years. Eight games into the 2017 season, they have the second-best pass defense in the league in terms of yards allowed per game.
By all measurements, this first-round draft pick has turned out to be a tremendous success. The Steelers improved their defensive backfield, and in the process found a young man whom everyone can learn from about overcoming adversity.
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