For Baker it's all black and gold now
Thursday, May 24, 2007
By Teresa Varley
He was given his first name because his family loved the Dallas Cowboys and his uncle Wes Chandler is a wide receivers coach with the Cleveland Browns, but there is no doubt that these days Dallas Baker is strictly about the black and gold.
"I was named after the Cowboys," said Baker. "My dad loved the Dallas Cowboys. Most of my family members were Cowboys fans. But I would say all that changed."
It changed after Baker, a wide receiver from Florida, was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. It meant any loyalty to his team growing up or to family, quickly ended.
"That's my uncle, but I'm trying to help the Steelers get to the Super Bowl the same way I helped the Gators make it to the national championship," said Baker. "So I'll just have to apologize for that later."
While the draft was playing out and Baker was waiting to be selected, Chandler sent him text messages telling him to hang in there and be patient. It was a long two days for him waiting for that selection, but in the end, it worked out.
"He was just saying, 'Hang in there and relax. Everything else will take care of itself,'" said Baker. "He was like, 'whatever team takes you just make sure you go in there and you give 110 percent – and that's on special teams, or playing wide receiver, or whatever. Just go in there and take advantage of that opportunity.'
"I'm not disappointed. I was thinking about going earlier on. I though I would have went early on. But I was just looking at it as a blessing and an opportunity. I mean, who wouldn't want to play football for a living? It's something that I love to do, so to have an opportunity to play it for a living, I'm just going to take it and run with it."
Baker brings a winning attitude with him to the Steelers. He was a member of the Gators National Championship team from last year and didn't get the nickname Dallas Baker "The Touchdown Maker," for nothing, having scored 10 of them his senior season.
"It was exciting and was a dream come true," said Baker. "You grow up as a kid watching the National Championship. So to have an opportunity to play in it, that was just great. And then to come out and score the first touchdown to help fuel my team to victory – there's nothing greater than that."
And he wants to have that same kind of success with the Steelers.
"I think we have a chance to go to the Super Bowl," said Baker. "We have a great team. I watched them play last year. We have a great quarterback with Ben [Roethlisberger]."