Jon Witman

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Jon Witman
No. 38
Position:Fullback
Personal information
Born: (1972-06-01) June 1, 1972 (age 46)
Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Career information
College:Penn State
NFL Draft:1996 / Round: 3 / Pick: 92
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts-yards:37-129
Receptions-yards:39-263
Touchdowns:0
Player stats at NFL.com

Jon Doyle Witman (born June 1, 1972) is an American former professional football player. He played college football at Penn State and was a Pittsburgh Steelers fullback for six seasons (1996–2001).

Early life[edit]

Witman was born in 1972 to young parents (then 21 and 17)[1] and was raised in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania,[2] a small borough along the Susquehanna River, east of York in the south central part of the state. He played football at Eastern York High School in Wrightsville,[3] where he led the team in back-to-back titles.[4] From there Witman moved to Penn State and was a member of its 1994 undefeated Rose Bowl-winning Nittany Lions football team, pairing with Brian Milne at the fullback position.[1][2][5]

Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

In 1996, Witman was the 92nd draft pick,[6] in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers,[2][7] with whom he started 43 games until his retirement in 2001.[8] He had not been available for any combines, due to a hamstring injury.[9] In his rookie year with the Steelers, Witman earned the team's "Joe Greene Great Performance Award".[10][11] He got hurt five games into the 2000 season and Dan Kreider took the fullback position for the remaining 10 games. Witman returned for the 2001 season and his last game was the Steelers' January 2002 AFC Championship loss to the New England Patriots.[10][12]

Struggles[edit]

Witman lost over $1 million in the 2008 stock market crash and as of late 2016, he was going through chapter 13 bankruptcy. Continuing pain from back and ankle fusion surgeries kept him from daily work and he gave his landscaping business to his brother.[13] Witman became addicted to opioid medication[3] and had two DUI crashes in 2016, both for which he was sentenced in 2017.[14] Faced with severe depression, he considered suicide in 2014 but his wife found help through the National Football League Players Association.[13] After months in detox, rehab, and a halfway house, and more rehab after some relapses, he has been clean and sober since November 2016.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Witman's father, Keith, a Vietnam-Marine who worked for 30 years at York's Harley-Davidson plant, died of cancer in February 2018.[1] Witman has been partnered with his wife since 1990, the start of their junior year in high school. An initial date didn't go well two years earlier, but they got back together after it became evident he was still interested. They have four sons,[3] one of whom played lacrosse at Eastern York High School as of 2017.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jones, David (March 5, 2018). ""Put in da fullback!": Jon Witman never verbally committed to PSU; Joe Paterno just pretended he did – and it worked!". PennLive. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Scolforo, Liz Evans (October 4, 2016). "Former Steeler charged with Wrightsville-area DUIs". York Dispatch. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Jones, David (March 21, 2018). "Jon Witman and wife Michelle on his struggle with addictive opioid pain medications and their life now". PennLive. Retrieved June 16, 2018. A decade and a half of football, first at Eastern York High
  4. ^ Heiser, Steve (December 27, 2017). "Eastern York High School looking for a new head varsity football coach". York Dispatch. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  5. ^ Signora, Michael (October 7, 1995). "Studies in dedication". Collegian. Penn State University. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Draft History – 1996". National Football League. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  7. ^ de Acero, Hombre (April 18, 2013). "5 Burning Questions on the Steelers Draft History". Behind the Steel Curtain. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  8. ^ McClure, Jim (December 17, 2007). "York County has produced several star NFL players". York Town Square. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  9. ^ Hyman, Jordan (April 19, 1996). "Lions hope for future success in NFL". Collegian. Penn State University. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  10. ^ a b KT (February 15, 2017). "Is Former Steelers Fullback Jon Witman Doomed to Become CTE's Next Victim? Let's Hope Not". Steel Curtain Rising. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  11. ^ "Steelers History 2017" (PDF). Pittsburgh Steelers. 2017. p. 84. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  12. ^ Arnold, Tom (May 6, 2012). "Dan Kreider looks at career, NFL". Lancaster Online. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  13. ^ a b Pelissaro, Tom (December 16, 2015). "NFL and union-backed programs providing lifelines to ex-players in distress". USA Today. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  14. ^ Scolforo, Liz Evans (February 8, 2017). "Former Steeler sentenced on two DUIs involving medications". York Dispatch. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Feinberg, Teddy (March 31, 2017). "Son of NFL player seeks stardom – on lacrosse field". GameTimePA. Retrieved June 18, 2018.