Not even gonna lead into it with anything cute...Cotter and I met up with former Steelers RB and restaurant owner Amos Zereoue at the end of last week, and it was badass.
Let me explain.
A few weeks back, Cotter came across an interview Amos did with Crain's New York Business about his Manhattan restaurant. Being the intuitive bloggers that we are, we decided to try and get ahold of #21. I sent out some emails, contacted a few people, and eventually got ahold of the people at Zereoue, Amos' restaurant. We decided to meet at the restaurant after work last week.
Now, you rarely get to meet guys that you grew up watching, so it's easy to imagine them to be some egotistical prick of a celebrity. Not the case with Amos. Almost every restaurant review gave gushing praise to the host/cook/owner. And they were warranted. We chatted at the bar in as casual a setting as one would imagine.
Amos still keeps up with the team, and tried to make it to the Giants game...since he was in Morgantown for the WVU game just days before. He gave praise to Mike Tomlin and some of the guys on the team, as well as reminisced about guys like Joey Porter and Bill Cowher.
Apparently, Joey's a great guy. Who woulda thunk? I was also a bit surprised about Amos' take on Cowher's success:
"Bill always surrounded himself with great coaches."
Not that it was a slight to Bill's individual brilliance, but a rather telling point about why our team has possibly been inconsistent the past 2-3 seasons. Maybe Tomlin's staff isn't as great as we'd like to think. One guy he loved was Dick LeBeau.
"We woulda won that AFC Championship game against the Patriots  if we had LeBeau [Was head-coaching Cincy then]."
But the former Steeler did play for the Patriots after 5 years with Pittsburgh and 1 with Oakland. Of course we had to ask him about New England.
"It was different up there. You could just tell things didn't feel right. The feeling was different from Pittsburgh."
We talked Hines Ward, too. Hines was drafted in '98, the year before Amos was drafted out of WVU, so Amos knew Hines as well as any other player in the game. I had to ask about the notion of late about Hines being a dirty player, and Amos quickly refuted that. "Hines plays whistle to whistle." Amos admitted that he didn't throw around jarring blocks like Hines does, but that's just the way Hines knows how to play the game. He said the Steelers did a great job of stressing blocking during his and Hines' time together.
We talked restaurant, too. Amos had the idea for the restaurant after, during his playing days, he and his teammates would regularly meet up and cook dinner. He says he still gets several former Steelers in and around his restaurant, and loves the challenge.
"It's like football. With the restaurant, you gotta react to what's happening, what's going on."
Now, we didn't want to take up all of Amos' time (although we really could have), so we skipped out without trying the food. But from what I hear, it's pretty awesome. Next time.
Check out Cotter's take on our chat.