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Jason Mackey: After watching his own life spiral, former Steelers running back Tim Worley returns to camp with important message

Jason Mackey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH — Tim Worley didn't see much of Saint Vincent College as a rookie. The seventh overall pick in the 1989 NFL draft held out for a month before appearing in the third preseason game, the former Steelers running back mesmerized by looking across the line of scrimmage and seeing the legendary Reggie White.

The last time Worley was here was 1999 — he's actually never seen a game at Acrisure Stadium/Heinz Field — but his return Tuesday should be special on a few fronts.

Worley was actually invited here by Merril Hoge. The two plan to speak with current players Wednesday, when Worley will share his own incredible story that includes drug problems, a suspension, an arrest and a rebound to his current life as an evangelist.

"That's my thing," Worley said of sharing his experiences and failures with a younger generation of football players. "It makes me look back to when I was this age. Didn't know jack. Thought I did. Had a ton of money in my pocket.

"We make mistakes, but my mistakes have made me a wiser person from a godly standpoint. They made me a smarter person, a better person, a stronger person. I know what's important in life."

What Worley does now is fascinating and — as he has no problem pointing out — probably not the least bit expected. He's a motivational speaker and life-skills consultant, and since around 2010, he has traveled the country speaking to groups, delivering a faith-based message.

 

At one point, Worley had a contract with K-LOVE/Air1 Radio to be part of its "Dare to Dream" program, talking to kids in elementary or middle school and telling them about the importance of making good choices.

"I'd hit 'em with the good stuff, tell 'em about my accolades and then tell 'em about my problems," Worley said. "I'd show them video of me getting Tased and arrested. I'd talk about failing a third drug test and getting suspended for the 1992 season. Then, they'd connect."

About 18 months ago, Worley took his message a step further, officially becoming an evangelist and taking a position with a group called Ambassadors of Compassion, where he's implemented a program based on forgiveness and resiliency.

They're two things about which Worley is plenty familiar.

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