As the offseason draws nearer to free agency, Javon Hargrave is set to receive a treasured award that only reminds the Steelers front office what’s to come.
Before the usual, all-anticipated Friday news dump and then breaking video of Steelers own QB Ben Roethlisberger throwing a football for the first time in months, a significant achievement was received by DT Javon Hargrave.
Something that would be held more dear to himself than what the recognition of a national headline could do. South Carolina State’s alumnus Hargrave was selected to be given the “Black College Football Pro Football Player of the Year” award. Presented by the NFLPA, it was founded in 2009 by former NFL QBs James Harris & Doug Williams.
Designed to preserve and enrich the great talents from coaches to players that come from HBCUs, it also serves as “a way to help fund a permanent Black College Football Hall of Fame within the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum, as well as provide the residents of northeast Ohio an opportunity to learn and experience the culture of HBCUs”.
Though 70 percent of the makeup of NFL athletes are black, there were only 30 players on opening, active day rosters in 2019 that came from HBCUs. A commonality for the league, the first pick amongst HBCU alumni in the 2016 draft, Javon Hargrave, still expounded on its surreal feeling for obtaining such a feat:
“This is very big. It’s huge. It’s a blessing,” said Hargrave. “Just all the great players who came before me, players I look up to. It was a surreal moment when I heard about it. I was so happy when I learned that I won it. I can’t wait to get there and see all those all-time greats there. It’s a great feeling for me”.
A pupil, fan, and friend of former Steelers safety and HOF Donnie Shell, Hargrave also described his emotions of what it means to be within the same group of someone he has admired since his college days.
“I’ve been inspired by so many great HBCU players who came before me, like South Carolina State’s own Robert Porcher and Donnie Shell, so it means a lot to get an award like this.”
An inspiring, unforgettable moment for Hargrave and his family, it reiterates the season he was able to have and what it means for his future with the Steelers. Continuing his breakout showcase from 2018 with dominant performances in 19’, the contract year served as an excellent fill-in for the Steelers who were without DT Stephon Tuitt for 10 games.
Highlighting before what a coveted free-agent Hargrave could become in the off-season, the potential loss of his presence will surely affect the depth, but it’s a cap tipped off in the end. A cap tipped off to the accomplishment, to the growth over his 4 years as a Steeler, and to what the future holds. Cherishing the moment now and to officially receive the award on February 22nd, we congratulate and applaud Hargrave.