Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Unbelievable Young Man' Ex-Nittany Lions, West Mifflin High Lineman Dies at 26

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

'Unbelievable Young Man' Ex-Nittany Lions, West Mifflin High Lineman Dies at 26

Article excerpt

Tim Brennan was the new guy in town, having moved to Fox Chapel from Idaho with his wife, Denise. He was headed back to Boise for a football camp, but he barely knew anyone here by then.

So he asked a few of his new players, including the promising offensive lineman who already was on the radar of college programs, for an assist, and the big kid agreed to help out his new coach at West Mifflin High School. That was the first time Brennan knew he was coaching an "unbelievable young man" in former West Mifflin standout Adam Gress.

Gress, who went on to play and eventually start at Penn State, was found dead Thursday afternoon in a residence in the 2700 block of Philadelphia Avenue in Dormont, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office. He was a week away from his 27th birthday. The cause of death has not been released.

"The Penn State Football Family would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family & friends of former letterman Adam Gress," reads a statement from Penn State football's official Twitter account, alongside a photo of Gress in his No. 58 Nittany Lions jersey. "His commitment to this university & this program will never be forgotten."

Gress attended West Mifflin, where he was coached by Brennan as a junior and senior, and enrolled at Penn State in 2009. He played for the Nittany Lions during the turbulent times created by the Jerry Sandusky scandal and has been cited by teammates as one of the players who kept the program afloat then.

Gress was a starter for the Nittany Lions as a fifth-year senior in 2013. He signed a rookie free-agent contract with the New York Giants in 2014 but did not make the team's regular-season roster. The Steelers invited him to try out at their rookie camp the same year.

"He was truly one of the most genuinely kind people you would ever meet," said Jesse Della Valle, who was a year behind Gress at Penn State and played with him for four seasons. "He could put a smile on anyone's face, and just one of those people that you loved to be around. …

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