Stefan Logan: Running Down a Dream

Stefan Logan will run for his life in 4 1/2 seconds. That’s the average flight time of an NFL punt.



Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers

For a human, Stefan Logan is small. For an NFL player, he’s an implausible 5 feet 6 inches, and weighs 180 pounds. If he weren’t wearing the famous black jersey and gold spandex, you might mistake him for a halftime Punt, Pass and Kick contestant who accidentally wandered back onto the field.

As the footsteps of his Carolina Panthers pursuers echo louder, Logan squints up into the neon fog, just one of 70,000 stargazers at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., waiting for the football to fall back to earth. What happens next could change his life. But Logan’s road to this moment (Sept. 3, 2009) was lined with potholes and detours that would make PennDOT blush.

“I was too scared to play football in high school,” Logan admits. “But all the neighborhood kids used to play on the streets of Miami—two-hand touch on the concrete and tackle if you went into the grass.” Dodging pastel convertibles, pedestrians and palm trees, Logan and his friends would play all day after school.

Logan’s brother finally convinced him to try out for the team at Jackson High School during his junior year. After just one season of organized football, Logan graduated from high school and got a full ride to Real World University, where he worked alongside his father in a mortuary preparing bodies for medical research at the University of Miami. “My first day, my stomach was twisting and turning so bad,” he remembers. “We took a break for lunch, and I couldn’t even look at food. But after a while, it became just like any other job.”

And so it went. Wake up. Work. Sleep. Repeat. He dreamed of college football, but without the chance of a scholarship, Logan had bigger concerns. Like bills. He took side jobs unloading boxes at a warehouse and packaging radios at a Motorola factory.
In 2003, when Ben Roethlisberger was taking the NCAA by storm and rookie Troy Polamalu was giving NFL defensive coordinators stress wrinkles, Logan was bagging groceries at Publix.

Then one night, in the fluorescent wash of the checkout aisle, he got an idea. “I decided to make a highlight reel,” Logan says. “My father bought me a second VCR so I could dub the tape, and we sent it to a bunch of colleges.”

After months of waiting, the phone finally rang. A recruiter stumbled upon the tape and was intrigued by Logan’s speed. He was on a flight to Vermillion, home of the University of South Dakota, almost before his cashier’s apron could hit the floor.

The mixtape merely earned him an invitation to walk-on tryouts along with a handful of intramural all stars and also-rans. He was supposed to be a tackling dummy. At best, he was supposed to be Rudy (a true story about a walk-on at Notre Dame that became a movie). Logan had other plans. He didn’t just make the team: The pint-sized running back finished his four-year career with the seventh most yards in Division II history.

Despite incredible statistics, scouts saw only one number that mattered: Logan’s height. Shortly after going undrafted, he was cut from the New York Giants’ practice squad  after team doctors discovered a lingering injury.

“I flew back to Miami to be with my family,” he says. “I cried. I told my mother that I didn’t want to play football anymore.” It was a good run. No one could blame Logan for quitting. For being realistic. Except for his mother. “God has a plan,” Arbedella Logan told her son. “Just keep fighting.”

Logan borrowed airfare money from his mother and re-enrolled in classes at USD. After lectures, he ran sprints under the moonlight to stay in shape—just in case.

With his NFL prospects dwindling, the Miami boy headed to the only place colder than South Dakota: Canada. After an outstanding year with the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions, at age 28, Logan finally got the phone call that led him to the most important moment of his life—this moment: Hello, Stefan? Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Logan’s first thought:  ‘Can’t wait to call my momma.’
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.
Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Pittsburghers Get Fewer Robocalls Than The National Average

Next time you get a call from a telemarketer, just be thankful you don’t live in Atlanta.
Four Pittsburgh Chefs Honored on James Beard Long List

Four Pittsburgh Chefs Honored on James Beard Long List

The four are semifinalists for James Beard Foundation Awards, considered the most prestigious of the nation's culinary honors.
Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

Is Pittsburgh About to Become the Next Detroit?

No offense to the motor city, but auto companies are eyeing the steel city to develop the next generation of driverless vehicles.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

A History of Pittsburgh, in 50 Artifacts

For a city only two centuries old, Pittsburgh has amassed a surprising amount of history. To assemble this collection of 50 of the region’s most fascinating historical artifacts, we hunted through museums, archives and private collections. We also looked for things many of us might pass each day without appreciating their significance.
The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

The Origins of Isaly’s: It's Not What You Think

Tracing the story of the chain back to its roots — which, surprisingly, are not in Pittsburgh.
In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

In the Frame: Julie Sokolow Sees the Future

After making films focused on Pittsburgh, Sokolow is rising through the ranks of U.S. women documentarians.
Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Restaurant Review: Salem's Market & Grill in the Strip District

Salem’s offers accessible and delicious meals for Pittsburghers of all stripes.
Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

Pittsburgh Penguins Share Tips for Parenting on Ice

In a year when youth-hockey participation is expected to increase, Pittsburgh Penguins players weigh in on the role of the hockey parent.
Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

Face the Frost: Go Daytripping on Winter Hikes in Pittsburgh

There’s a magical, snowy landscape right in your backyard.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

1,000 Points Earns Crosby His Own Primanti Bros. Sandwich

Unlike previous Penguins-inspired sandwiches, Crosby’s “The Captain” could be on the menu for years to come.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

Union Standard Will Open This Weekend

The highly anticipated restaurant from Derek Stevens opens is located in the Union Trust building Downtown.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

Five Inexpensive But Memorable Date Spots in Pittsburgh

These spots are tailored for couples who are looking for a simple, chill night out on Valentine’s Day (or any other day). If your significant other isn’t the type to be wooed by expensive wines and chocolates, this is the list for you.

Comments


Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

Social House 7 Is Okay ... But There's This Really Weird Thing About It

While it's not among Downtown's best, Social House 7 is a fine place for a drink and a bite — but we're stuck on a bizarre element of the décor.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Love Affair Between Pittsburgh & Keisel is a Two-Way Street

Love Affair Between Pittsburgh & Keisel is a Two-Way Street

Where else but Pittsburgh would a football player, two years removed from his playing days, be able to raise about $85,000 in one night for the staging of an event that involves the gathering of a crowd to watch a man shave?

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Check out the chic decor from Pittsburgh-based artist and designer Janice Nelson.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Great Wall Crumbles, Fist Fight Whiffs

Reviews of "The Great Wall" and "Fist Fight," plus local movie news and notes.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

Our Favorite Unique Centerpiece (That’s Not Flowers)

This couple’s centerpiece from our Real Pittsburgh Weddings shines brighter than the traditional table bouquet.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Candle Lab Ready To Make Its Debut in Lawrenceville

The Columbus-based store, where you can customize your own candle fragrance, is expected to open in March.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at ‘Fences’

An art director from Warner Bros. Studios will visit La Roche College to talk about the Oscar-nominated film with ties to Pittsburgh.

Comments