Trent Steelman’s football journey takes him from West Point to U.S. National Team to Baltimore Ravens camp
It was just four games, but they were games that made the fire inside Trent Steelman burn white hot.
As a result of the International Federation of American Football World Championship, Steelman isn’t just ready to get back on the field again, he’s ready to plant himself on the turf for years to come.
The MVP of the tournament for the gold-medal winning United States team, the 6-foot, 204-pound Steelman thought his dream of playing football might be in the waning stages.
Then the call came from the Baltimore Ravens, and Steelman now can call himself a professional athlete.
A record-setting quarterback for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Steelman actually thought he had a chance to sign with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, but that opportunity was put on hold to fulfill his commitment to the military.
After serving proudly in the Army for two years, he eyed the veteran combine in Phoenix this spring but didn’t catch on with a club until the Ravens snatched him up last week.
“I was actually talking about that with my brother,” Steelman said. “After leaving the military, the plan was to have everything go accordingly. I would go to the veteran combine, hopefully get picked up there and have the chance to go to the OTAs.
“Sometimes things don’t go as planned. (Playing for the U.S. National Team) came along, and being on that field really did ignite something. It showed me how much I do love the game. How much I missed it. It showed me how much the game has given me. I knew once I got out there, I would do whatever it took to get back that contract and get back into football.”
The World Championship should have opened his eyes, as he was a big reason the U.S. beat Japan twice – once in the finals – as well as France and Mexico.
He was the focal point of a team that scored a tournament-best 214 points as he logged 18 catches for 258 yards and two scores, rushed for 66 yards and a score and recovered a fumble in the end zone during four games to earn MVP honors.
Those numbers shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, as Steelman set West Point records during 46 games and 32 consecutive starts, rushing for 3,320 yards. He also set the single-season school record with 17 rushing touchdowns.
“(U.S.) Coach (Dan) Hawkins gave me that opportunity,” Steelman said. “He put me on a variety of special teams, and I proved I could handle the responsibility there.
“I lined up in the slot and caught balls. My growth as a wide receiver grew exponentially. I showed I could run the ball in some of the fly sweeps we ran and lining up in the wildcat. That versatility I hope can sell me as an athlete.”
Steelman doesn’t need to sell himself all that much as the numbers have brought some rather nice responses for the converted receiver.
“The big thing for me will be that special teams aspect,” Steelman said. “As my highlight film has proven, I can play a multitude of positions. I think I can do a variety of things for a team.”
As for being given the chance to play for the United States, Steelman is not only humbled but stated he made strong friendships in the span of three weeks.
They’re friendships he plans on keeping long after his playing days are done.
“The goal is always to win and that was a humbling honor,” Steelman said. “I don’t think I could have a better time than I did there. That’s a reflection of my coaches and teammates, though.
“It definitely ranks up there as one of the top opportunities of my life. Looking back on it, it was amazing. I’ve never been so close to a group of guys like that, especially after knowing them only a couple of weeks. I feel like I’ve known them for years.”