The most decorated tight end and most colorful broadcaster in franchise history was selected to the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Honor on Saturday. So was an unsung hero on the team’s offensive line in the Super 70s and an all-around offensive threat in the 50s.
The four-man squad announced Saturday included tight end Heath Miller, broadcaster Myron Cope, fullback Sam Davis and receiver Ray Mathews.
The foursome – Miller is the only living member – will be honored Nov. 11, two days before the Steelers face the New Orleans Saints at Acrisure Stadium. Each member will receive a replica solid steel soccer ball.
“It’s always a tough screening process to weed out the guys that are worthy of admission,” said team president Art Rooney II. “You have 20 to 25 names and narrowing it down to four or five is tough, but I think we’ve come up with a great class.”
Miller, who retired after the 2015 season, attended the ceremony at the Fred Rogers Center on the Saint Vincent campus.
“I knew it existed, but I didn’t think too much about ever being a part of it,” Miller said. “Think of the Steelers legacy and the great players that have come through here. To be mentioned in the same area code with those guys, it’s really hard to put into words what that means to me.
Miller wasn’t the biggest talker on teams that included Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Joey Porter and Antonio Brown, among others. But he was named the team’s MVP in 2012 and had the best stats of any tight end in his 11 seasons with the Steelers.
Miller finished as the franchise leader in receptions (592), yards (6,569) and touchdown catches (45) for a tight end. He was a two-time Pro Bowl draft pick and played on Super Bowl XL and XLIII championship teams.
“It was a perfect match,” Miller said on 30e overall pick in the 2005 draft. “I couldn’t have picked a better team or a better city to come to. …I landed in a perfect place.
Miller always finds it amusing that fans chant “Heeeeeeaaath” when a tight end makes a catch. At first, however, he thought the attention was awkward.
“I was getting random texts saying they were still chanting your name,” he said. “My first reaction was that the tight ends are probably annoyed by this. To put it into perspective, the appreciation and the love for the fans, it never escaped my notice. It meant a lot that they chose this way to show appreciation for the work I’ve done for them.
Cope, who died in 2008, served as color commentator for Steelers games from 1970 to 2004. He is perhaps most famous for creating the Terrible Towel and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2005, the same year where he received the Pete Rozelle Award. for his outstanding contributions to professional football on radio and television.
“I remember at first a lot of people were thinking, why do you have this guy with a weird voice on the radio,” Rooney said. “He was one of a kind.”
Rooney noted that Cope is the first Hall of Honor selected member who has never been employed by the Steelers.
Davis, who died in 2019, was a four-time Super Bowl champion in his 13 seasons with the Steelers, a career that began in 1967 before Chuck Noll arrived. An undrafted player, Davis’ work ended up starting 114 of his 168 career games with the Steelers. He was one of the franchise’s 50e team of all time anniversary.
“He came a little slow and worked his way into becoming a foundation of this line,” Rooney said. “I always say this line doesn’t get the credit it deserves. He played as a unit most of the time and there wasn’t much turnover. Sam was a key part of that. Captain, he’s been a big part of the whole team and he’s the kind of guy we like to recognize.
So did Mathews, who died in 2015. He played through the toughest days in franchise history and had just two winning seasons out of the nine he spent with the Steelers from 1951 to 1959. He started 91 games and appeared in 108 games, earning Pro Bowl selections in the 1952 and 1955 seasons. In each season, he led the NFL in yards per touch, and he led the league in return touchdowns from release in 1952.
In his time with the Steelers, Mathews rushed for 1,057 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 233 passes for 3,963 yards and 34 touchdowns.
“I know my dad and my grandfather talked about him and thought he was a great player,” Rooney said.
The Hall of Honor, founded in 2017, increased its membership to 49 with the addition of Miller, Cope, Davis and Mathews.
Joe Rutter is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Joe by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .