Steelers Blood Runs Deep In LB Spillane Family

Photo created by Brian Jenkins, owner of Steelers World 1

If there is one re-signing I am very proud that took place this past week, it was the signing Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, Robert Spillane. The backup for the injured Devin Bush, and showed great promise at the inside backer position.

Spillane, however, is not the only member of the family to play for the Steelers. His grandfather and Heisman Trophy Winner, Johnny Lattner also played for Pittsburgh.

As a standout halfback for Notre Dame, Lattner, the 6’1″..195 lb back took home the Heisman back in 1953. Drafted number seven in the first round of the 1954 NFL Draft, he went on to play one season with the Steelers. The only year he played in the National Football League, earning Pro Bowl honors as a kick returner in the process. During a football game, he suffered a severe knee injury that prevented him from ever playing professional football again. Lattner’s single season in Pittsburgh was a success, as he totaled over 1,000 all purpose yards on offense and special teams.

Lattner then went on to join the United States Air Force, serving for two years before going on to coach football in the late 1950s, at St. Joseph’s High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the University of Denver. His coaching career ended in 1961 when Denver cut its football program.

Lattner was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.

Spillane, a standout himself, played four seasons for the Western Michigan Broncos, appearing in 47 games (40 games). During his college career, Spillane accumulated 312 tackles (32.5 for loss), 10 sacks, four interceptions, five pass breakups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named second team All-Mid American Conference (MAC) selection in his junior season after recording 111 tackles, including 10.5 for loss, three sack, three interceptions and two forced fumbles. As a senior, Spillane was again named second team All-MAC after compiling 88 tackles, 11 of which were for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception, which he returned 35 yards for a touchdown.

During his game starting for the Steelers, Spillane racked up two of the most memorable plays. One, with the interception for a touchdown against LaMar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The other was the stuffing of Tennessee Titans running back, Derek Henry at the goal line on 4th down. Pittsburgh went on to win both of those games

So I guess you can say the pedigree is good in this family when it comes to the Steelers. Look forward to a big year from Spillane, playing along side of Bush instead of in for him. #HereWeGo

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