“I started football when I was actually 7 years old,” said Steelman. “From there, my love of the game has grown every single day."
After graduating high school, West Point was the only Division I-A school to come knocking on Steelman’s door. He happily accepted. He would play football anywhere, even if it meant joining the military, just as long as he got to play the game he loved and get one step closer to his dream of playing in the NFL.
“If I wanted to continue to pursue football, I knew it wasn’t going to be as a six-foot option quarterback playing in the NFL,” said Steelman. “So I looked to the next best thing that fit my skill set and that was to transition to a little slot receiver.”
And the NFL took notice.
The euphoria of finally signing with an NFL team was short-lived, however. Steelman could not get out of his five-year commitment to the military, he said.
“It was difficult," he added. "Knowing that my dream was right there at my fingertips, only to be taken away or slip away, was something that kept me up at night. It was hard."
Disappointed, but understanding of the situation, Steelman returned to the Army to proudly serve his country. Two years later, while stationed at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia, Steelman said he got an unexpected call from the Army telling him that he was free to pursue his dream.
Steelman moved back home to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and began vigorously training to get his body and mind into football shape. He was invited to participate in the first-ever NFL veteran combine back in March and just signed with the Baltimore Ravens. But this time, he won’t let it slip away.
“Only a few people have taken this path and, for me, there’s been a lot of ups and downs,” said Steelman. “It’s been tough. There’s been a lot of times where I wanted to call it quits, where I wanted to walk away from the game. I haven’t. I’ve stuck with it, I’m pursuing my dream and, hopefully, my dream comes true soon.”