Saturday, October 1, 2022

Steelers’ Pressley Harvin III parlays golf swing into booming punts at training camp

LATROBE, Pennsylvania — Of all the big name players on the Steelers‘ roster, the player who drew the biggest road from the crowd during Pittsburgh’s final training camp practice was punter Pressley Harvin III. Harvin, who is entering his second season with the Steelers, brought the crowd to its feet after booming a punt that traveled anywhere from 60 to 70 yards. 

Big drives are synonymous with Latrobe, the home of golf legend Arnold Palmer and his golf course, Latrobe Country Club, located just down the road from where the Steelers hold training camp. On Thursday, just after the Steelers had finished their final day of training camp, Harvin told CBS Sports that he and some of his teammates played a round at Arnold’s course during camp.  

“That’s like top-tier of golf right there,” Harvin said. “And being from South Carolina, the Arnold Palmer sweet tea, we have that sweet tea every day. It was a really nice time.”

Harvin, who primarily stayed in Pittsburgh this past offseason, decided to give golf a try while playing with Steelers long snapper Christian Kuntz. Harvin says that he is not the best golfer, but he is pretty pleased with one aspect of his game. 

“Honestly, I can hit a pitching wedge 150 yards,” he said. “The pitching wedge is my favorite club.” 

Along with finding a new way to bond with teammates, Harvin said that golf has helped him prepare for the upcoming season. Harvin sees several similarities between what it takes to be successful on the course as well as on the football field. 

“I think that’s the biggest thing that’s kind of helped me with punting was just trying to find that same golf swing, and the same thing with trying to find the same swing with punting,” he said. “You work the muscle memory so much with practice that by the time you get into a game or on a course, it’s natural to you. 

“It goes hand in hand. I noticed a couple of weeks ago on film that instead of my leg going straight up, it was going a little bit inside. It’s small things like that, and you’ve got to try critique yourself on a very small and minute level.”

Harvin said that there are several shots in golf that are similar to the punts he’s asked to execute on Sundays. 

“It depends on what part of the field you’re on,” he said. “The open field is definitely like a driver. A pooch punt is like a chip-in shot with a 60 wedge or something like that. … It really correlates with each other a lot.” 

Along with golf, the 2020 Ray Guy Award winner implemented other things outside of football into his offseason training program. It’s clear, based on how he looked during camp, that the things Harvin implemented into his regiment have already started to pay off. 

“This offseason, I just told myself that I need to find a consistency on and off the field,” Harvin said. “Got my mind right, my mental is good, got in shape, feeling good, the leg has been swinging pretty good. Just trying to find a consistent swing every single time and let that muscle memory work for me.” 

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The 2021 season was both a physical and emotional test for Harvin, who dealt with personal tragedy late in the year when he lost two close family members over a two-week span. Despite his personal trials, Harvin pressed on and had arguably his best game of the year in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs. He punted seven times and averaged nearly 50 yards per punt during the final game of the Steelers’ season. 

Harvin has lofty goals as he continues to prepare for the 2022 regular season. More so, he wants to play his part in helping the Steelers return to the playoffs for the third straight year. 

“Every single time I’m on the field, I want to put the defense in the best position possible and put those three points up whenever I’ve got to go out to hold field goals,” Harvin said. “Individual things are I want to be top-five in the league this year in net punting, because net punting is where you win games.” 

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