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Pitt in the Pros

Former Pitt Star OT Brian O’Neill Makes Substantial Donation to Pitt Football

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Brian O'Neill

Aaron Donald has been known to give back to Pitt, donating $200,000 on Pitt’s 2022 Day of Giving in the latest act of service, but it’s another Pitt great that has made an impact this time.

Minnesota Vikings tackle Brian O’Neill made a generous commitment to Pitt’s Pitt Football Championship Fund Tuesday, joining the Pitt Panther Club’s The Script Society.

The Pitt Football Championship Fund is a foundation that exists as a way, “to give directly towards the Pitt teams they care about most. Success is a byproduct of support and encouragement that comes from generous donors like you and by supporting these championship funds we can ensure that our student-athletes receive a collegiate experience second to none.”

The Championship Fund helps the football program with facility enhancements, recruiting, team events and the everyday success of football student-athletes on and off the field through the course of the year.

O’Neill, who arrived at Pitt as a mid-level three-star recruit from Salesianum in Wilmington, Delaware, actually began his Pitt career as a potential tight end. Following a redshirt season, he switched to offensive line and never looked back.

As a redshirt freshman, O’Neill played in 13 games, starting the final 12, and that began a start streak that lasted through the very end of his Pitt career. It spanned 37 games and All-ACC honors as a sophomore and junior.

O’Neill was selected by the Vikings with the 62nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft after his three seasons starting at Pitt. He paved the way forward for Pitt’s running backs, including James Conner, and helped turn Nathan Peterman into an NFL draft pick himself — he also scored two touchdowns at Pitt.

In four seasons with the Vikings, O’Neill has turned into a top-tier starting right tackle. He played in 15 games as a rookie, starting 11, and he’s started every game for Vikings since — with the exception being an inactive game against Chicago in the 2019 season finale.

Before the 2021 season, the Vikings locked down O’Neill and secured his services upfront for years to come, making him one of the highest-paid offensive linemen in the NFL courtesy of a five-year, $92.5 million deal.

In starting all 17 games in 2021, O’Neill logged a massive 1,140 snaps this season, and he only took five penalties and allowed a single sack, according to Pro Football Focus. As such, he was rewarded with his Pro Bowl appearance.

With the amount of talent Pitt has put into the NFL in recent seasons, and the amount of money that has been given to former Pitt stars in second and third contracts, it’s an encouraging sign to see that money trickle back into the program.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Eli
Eli
29 days ago

Way to go, big guy!

Dukes

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