Safety Mike Mitchell probably would like to forget his first season with the Pittsburgh Steelers but thanks to him suffering two groin injuries in 2014, he now has scars that will forever serve as a reminder as to how the year played out.
Mitchell, who had surgery to repair his injured groins after the season ended, said Tuesday after the team’s first OTA practice that he’s ‘pretty much good to go’ now even though he occasionally has a few post-surgery pains.
Mike Mitchell said he has offseason surgery to repair groin. Says he’s pretty much good to go, tho there is pain occasionally #Steelers
— Will Graves (@WillGravesAP) May 26, 2015
“I just tried to do what I could for the team,” said Mitchell about playing through his injuries last season. “It probably wasn’t the smartest decision, but I was able to play 16 games.”
Mitchell went on to praise the Steelers coaches and training staff for the way they handled him last season.
“We all play with injuries so I’m not going to make a big deal about it,” Mitchell added.
Now that veteran safety Troy Polamalu has retired, Mitchell will be asked to play alongside either Shamarko Thomas or Will Allen this upcoming season and it sounds like he’s up to the challenge just as you would expect him to be.
“I think both of them are more than capable of being a starter in this league,” said Mitchell. “It’s exciting to be working with Shamarko. He’s a young, very, very, very hungry player. He pushes me everyday. He’s a guy who’s super-strong in the weight room, so to be able to try to workout with him and whatnot is good, it’s motivating. I think his youth is good and you know, obviously, he’s a very fast, explosive, aggressive player, so I think that will be good.”
Mitchell went on to say that he has already logged a lot of practice time with Allen over the course of the last year and that he’s already comfortable playing alongside him in the Steelers secondary should he wind up being the starter this year.
Even though the Steelers have lost a few veterans on the defensive side of the football this past offseason, in addition to having Keith Butler now in charge of the defense, Mitchell is already starting to see progress in the unit after just on OTA practice.
“I thought the one thing that was really good is that our communication on day one was miles ahead of where it was last year,” said Mitchell. “I think that will be a big deal because guys are more used to how we operate, how we play and how we talk things out. Me and Will Gay were communicating today things we didn’t get down until Week 12 of last year, so that was good.”
As far Mitchell taking on more of a leadership role in 2015 with so many veterans now gone, he agreed Tuesday that he may have to a little bit.
“I’m just trying to be myself,” Mitchell said. “I’m an emotional player and I think sometimes that can be misinterpreted. But I think most of my teammates, they understand what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to get accomplished and ultimately it’s about winning football games. I think I just need to play my game.”
As fans, we can only hope that Mitchell’s game is better than what it was last year and I have a feeling that it will be.