Getting To Know: Mike Mitchell

The Steelers' top off-season player acquisition is back on the field and ready to play. Get to know Mike Mitchell:

Mike Mitchell, FS, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: How have the last few weeks been?

MM: It's been cool. I kind of looked at it as a blessing in disguise. First I was down. I was frustrated. But like Coach LeBeau says, you can't keep a good man down. So I just focused on the things I could control, which is get better in the film room, get stronger upper body, and just do my rehab every day.

Q: Are you anxious to get ?out there?

MM: Yeah. It'll be nice. It's a little bit different in practice. I don't have the same intentions I would necessarily have in the game. So you've still got to wait for that. But it's going to be good just to practice and earn my keep, so to speak.

Q: Those are good intentions, right?

MM: Yeah (pause) for the most part.

Q: How did the injury happen?

MM: I'm not talking about anything with that. You've got to ask coach.

Q: Earn your keep? Do you really feel that way?

MM: I do. My approach to the game is I want to come out here and earn it with my brothers every day. To see them, they're all banged up and how sore they are, I want to feel that way too. You kind of feel like you're letting everyone down when you can't participate and you can't practice. I've said it before, the big thing I hang my hat on, and the good NFL players hang their hat on, is your availability to be able to play every day and have guys be able to trust you and count on you and rely on you, and it was frustrating not being able to do that. Injuries happen, but to be able to get back out there definitely is going to make me feel better.

Q: Do you feel you have something to prove to your new teammates?

MM: Yeah and no. If I was a rookie it would be a little bit different but this is my sixth year so I've got five years worth of game film that any of them can go look at if they need to see how I play the game of football. But every time you step on the field, it's your resume. You're putting yourself out there about what you're about, so I'm just going to go out and play the way I play. I'm not going to try anything crazy. I'm getting eased back in today. But they'll see when the actual games count.

Q: Did the spring adequately prepare you for the mental aspect of your new job?

MM: Yes sir. I took pretty much all of the reps in OTAs and I had my playbook and everything, so I studied really hard over the summer and I took every single mental rep that you could possibly take out here. I feel prepared. Obviously there's going to be some type of adjustment playing the position, but I should be fine. It should only take a couple of days.

Q: How about the cohesion of the unit?

MM: I think our group from top to bottom is pretty solid. I think we're a close-knit group, as far as communicating. We're working on that every single day. That doesn't change. We'll be working on that from now until the Super Bowl.

Q: Ready for Saturday?

MM: I have no idea. That's up to coach.

Q: What have you learned being able to watch from Carnell Lake on the sideline?

MM: Little things. Any time he corrects them it's like he's correcting me. You always want to learn from your teammates' mistakes and not be a repeat offender, so every time he was coaching up one of them I treated it as he was coaching me. So hopefully when I go out there and not repeat mistakes people have made in the past and just continue to have the group progress as a whole. I don't want to come in and have us take any steps back. I want to just come in and make it a seamless transition.

Q: You looked so good running on the sideline. Were you wanting to get on with things?

MM: You definitely want to get out there, but at the same time you want to be smart. John Norwig and our doctors here are the best. They've done a good job. They know my personality. I want to go hard all the time, so they did a good job keeping the reigns on me a little bit, and now they're going to ease me back into it. I've just got to be smart and make sure I stay on top of everything.

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