The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 6, 2013

Wishing LaRod many happy returns

JOHNSTOWN — The National Football League season kicked off last night, and the Pittsburgh Steelers begin on Sunday. When they do, a local product will get to make his first official appearance for the Black and Gold.

Greater Johnstown product LaRod Stephens-Howling, who also is a Pitt graduate, should return kickoffs for coach Mike Tomlin’s team and see time at running back.

This is the latest chapter in what has been a storybook career for Stephens-Howling. At 5-feet, 7 inches tall, he was told that he was too small to play big-time college football and, later, that he couldn’t find a spot on the field with the NFL’s giants.

When he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals five years ago, he cried tears of joy. He quickly became a fan favorite there – nicknamed “The Hyphen” – and made highlight shows with his big-play ability.

A free agent, Stephens-Howling signed with the Steelers in the offseason, meaning that his hometown fans will be to see him play in person on a regular basis.

Stephens-Howling does more than inspire people with his on-field ability. He’s humble, intelligent and often returns to his roots to work in the Johnstown community.

He’s an outstanding role model and wish him the best of luck.

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