Former Hardaway football player Robert Steele presented the school with a golden football on Friday during the school’s Pride Day to commemorate his participation in one of the NFL’s 50 Super Bowls.
He is the only player from the school to have ever played in the Super Bowl, having played in Super Bowl XIII for the Dallas Cowboys in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Friday, he shared a message with the student body about persevering against odds to achieve their goals.
When he played at Hardaway, he said, he was far from the best player on the team.
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“I was not the No. 1 player on the team,” he said. “I was probably not the 21st player on the team. I wasn’t the best player on my college team. When I got to the Cowboys, I was not No. 1 on the depth chart.”
In fact, he was No. 20 out of 20 at his position, wide receiver.
“I saw that as positive, because I had nowhere to go (but up),” he said.
And he did go up. Steele moved from No. 20 all the way up to the fourth receiver on the team. In a 2011 article with the Dallas Morning News, former Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach praised Steele for his ability to make the team in 1978.
“He worked his butt off to make the team,” Staubach said. “He took his ability and overcame a lot of obstacles to be on a professional football team.”
Staubach went on to note how that work ethic contributed to Steele’s ability to become the senior vice president of sales at Healthcare Insight, Inc., a health care technology company based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Steele stressed that message to Hardaway students on Friday.
“What’s interesting of the journey is that I was never the best player, but I was still here at the end of training camp,” he said, referring to a book he has written entitled “Steele Here.”
He said he wanted that group of Hardaway students to include one of the next participants in the Super Bowl.
After leaving Hardaway, Steele played at North Alabama, where he was a two-year starter. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys.
He played one year for the Cowboys then played one season for the Minnesota Vikings.