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Steelers Rookie DE Stephon Tuitt Thrives On Pressure To Become Next Aaron Smith

Early last week, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell said rookie defensive end Stephon Tuitt reminds him some of a young Aaron Smith. Tuitt was asked Wednesday about that comparison and he said he knows all about Smith and what he meant to the Steelers organization.

“Since I got here, I got a chance to see who wore this number before me and the person who wore this number before me was a great player for the Steeler Nation,” said Tuitt, who signed his rookie contract on Wednesday. “I have a lot of shoes to fill in that boat and with that comes a great opportunity to become the best and that’s somebody who I look up to as well.”

Being compared to Smith this early in his career is certainly quite a bit of pressure to put on a young Steelers defensive end, but Tuitt welcomes it.

“I love pressure. I thrive off of that,” he said.

Despite playing up and down the line in the Notre Dame 3-4 defense during his college career, Tuitt admits that digesting the Steelers defensive playbook so far hasn’t been at all smooth.

“Its rocky, but I’ve been in the system for a couple of weeks and I’m understanding my role and understanding the system.”

Tuitt went on to say that while learning to play defensive end in the Steelers defense isn’t necessarily hard, he has to make sure that he’s consistent along with being tough and physical. With that said, he knows he’s got a great position coach in Mitchell.

“You can see why he developed great defensive linemen here, because he’s very hard-nosed and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes down to the defensive line in this system,” he said.

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