Former Towson football star Jordan Dangerfield, now a safety and and special teams ace for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is in rare company. He is one of the few to have a unique connection to both sides of the storied Ravens-Steelers rivalry.
Though the 5-foot-11, 198-pound Dangerfield is now on the Pittsburgh side of the rivalry, he’s well aware of how much this game means to both franchises since he spent his college years in the Baltimore area.
“It’s kind of indescribable, it’s everything you hear about and everything that you think it is. It’s a physical game,” Dangerfield said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 3. “… I was able to see the Baltimore side when I was out there at Towson and now I’m able to be a part of the Pittsburgh side, and I like the Pittsburgh side better.”
The Steelers dominated their AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 30 for their first win of the season. The Steelers won that game in blowout fashion (27-3) and held the Bengals to just 175 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Mason Rudolph was solid in his second start of the season after taking over for an injured Ben Roethlisberger, who is out for the year with an elbow injury. Rudolph went 24-for-28 for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Running back James Conner also had a big game, rushing for 42 yards on 10 carries as well as hauling in eight catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.
“[It] feels good to get that win,” Dangerfield said, “and now we’ve gotta stack ’em. We’ve got more division play coming up and we’re gonna stack the wins now.”
Dangerfield went through a grueling process to get to where he is today. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Buffalo Bills in 2013 and even had a stint in the Fall Experimental Football League.
“It’s a dream come true, I’ve been clawing at it since I left Towson,” Dangerfield said. “… It hasn’t been an easy journey for me. … I don’t take a day for granted, and I think they see that and they see how much I love the game and how much I really care about it and how much work I put into it.”
Dangerfield appreciates all the people that looked up to him during and after his Towson career (2010-2012). In recent years, the Towson football program has developed some high-end talent that has made its way to the NFL. One was former Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West, who was drafted in 2014 in the third round by the Cleveland Browns. Another was defensive back Tye Smith, who was drafted in the fifth round in 2015 by the Seattle Seahawks.
One of Dangerfield’s inspirations at Towson was recently retired offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2007 by the New Orleans Saints.
“When I was there, they had Bushrod, and I was like, ‘If Bushrod can do it, then I can, too,'” Dangerfield said. “And not just Bushrod — other guys who played in the CAA too, especially guys at the safety position or the secondary.”
Since Dangerfield had a lot on his plate with football while he was a student at Towson, he didn’t have a chance to graduate. However, he decided to come back this past spring to earn his degree from Towson in sports management. He said it was just as important to him as his football career.
“It was part of my dream too, graduating college with a degree was very important to me,” Dangerfield said. “That was a stressful journey, too, because I had to work around football with taking classes, too. That’s another reason it took so long because I couldn’t knock it all out in one semester or even one summer, so I had to just break it up little by little.”
“I want my son to see that so that when he gets older, he can see that I finished up and how I went back and how important it was to finish up,” Dangerfield added.
When the Ravens visit Heinz Field Oct. 6, there’s a good chance “Renegade” by Styx is played at a critical point of the ballgame. Dangerfield praised the effectiveness of the song, which serves to pump up the Steelers and their fans.
“It matters, all the adrenaline starts flowing,” Dangerfield said. “That song just gets you going, especially the crowd, they get into it, it gets the team going, it’s a momentum shifter. Just the history that song brings, there’s times when they play that song and we’ve been down like two possessions and that song comes on and we’re back in it.”
To hear more from Dangerfield, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Towson Athletics