Steelers' Eason expresses interest outside NFL

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Eason Coming off his first Super Bowl victory, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Nick Eason decided to put energy into another sporting arena.

This offseason Eason became a active sponsor of the Cleveland Fusion -- a women's professional football team in northeast Ohio. Eason, a former member of the Cleveland Browns, still has many connections in the area and has been promoting women's pro football in Cleveland.

"After the Super Bowl a lot of doors have been opened for me, so I just wanted to basically give something back to the community," Eason said of his work with the Fusion. "So I heard about the Cleveland Fusion, and I see them as sort of the old-school NFL.

"I think that down the road it's a possibility that this could go big with the right marketing tools and if it's done right and done properly."

Women's professional football has been an underground sport for a while. But with the constant craving for pigskin in American, Eason believes it has the potential to grow.

The Women's Football Alliance (WFA) has 36 teams across the country, four more than the NFL. There are also teams in all four AFC North cities, including the Pittsburgh Force, who will play the Fusion 7 p.m. Saturday at Byers Field in Parma, Ohio.

"We pretty much play by the NFL rules," said Fusion player Tiffany Soggs. "The only difference is a smaller ball. Outside of that, it's full pads and full gear. It's regular football. Anything you'll see in a men's game you will see in our game."

Eason has been out to Fusion practices numerous times during the offseason and said he enjoys the sport. That is why he is backing women's football and trying to promote the sport as much as possible during the Steelers' offseason.

"I'm a sports fan, and obviously I play football," Eason said. "I'm a type of guy that supports a lot of different things, all types of sports, and different types of people from different walks of life. I'm pro for anything for the good, and that's why I wanted to get involved."