Bringing you another Pittsburgh Steelers’ interview courtesy of our good friend Ron Lippock of the Pittsburgh Sports Daily Bulletin. Today, Ron interviews MTSU cornerback Mike Minter. They discuss his strengths, what he’s working on, and the type of person he is. For clarity, this interview took place on Thursday.
Be sure to check out Ron’s book, Steelers’ Takeaways: Player Memories Through The Decades, featuring over 400 interviews with players and coaches, past and present. You can buy it on Amazon through the link provided here.
First, how did day one go with the meetings? They kept you late!
Oh it went great. I’m happy to be here. I met with the coaches today – we went over the defensive plays, learning the playbook so we know what to do when we’re on the field tomorrow. I can’t miss any assignments!
They said they’ll play me at cornerback. I’m just going to go and fly around and show them what I can do. To be a well-conditioned athlete and chase the ball.
What do you think are the strengths you bring to the game?
I have a good IQ for the game. And a nose for the ball. Cornerback, safety…I can play any position. I don’t consider myself a cornerback – I consider myself a defensive back. I can play any position.
I’m real fast. Faster than I am strong. Speed has always been my upper hand. No matter what age I was, I always relied on my speed. Now I know I can’t just rely on speed. I have to be a technician – have good feet and hands.
What can you work on to get better – and how are you doing so?
My strength – I can get stronger coming out of my breaks. In college I didn’t have to back peddle so I just need to learn how to do that more. It’s just a matter of doing it every day. Cone drills and using much more drive out of my breaks. I work on it every day.
What’s the goal, day one?
To win the coaches over. There are a lot of champions here – a lot of winners. My main goal is to make plays and win the coaches over.
Have you met any of the other rookies yet – gotten to know the city?
My first day, I’m just getting a feel for everything. Tomorrow when we’re on the field and communicating I’ll get a feel for everybody.
The city is very new to me. When I got off the plane it started raining. Driving for the first five minutes it stopped raining just like that. It was sunny then I saw the stadium. It was real nice. I got a real good view. I’m not really a type of guy who goes out a lot so I won’t go out and see much of the city. I like more staying home and watching TV, watching sports.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should fans know about you?
I think fans will love me. I’m a people person. I get along with people and like talking to everybody. You can say I’m a bit of an entertainer. I like to get the crowd roared up and involved in the game. A cool dude who’s chill. Laid back. Usually after playing I’m so tired and chill.
What would your college coaches say about you? How would they describe you?
They’d say I’m feisty. Fearless. No matter what, I don’t fear anybody. I’m a good guy. Tough. Smart. I have a passion for the game.
So, you said earlier you see yourself as a defensive back. But any preference on position?
I wouldn’t care. I’d gain twenty pounds and play safety if they wanted. I honestly don’t care. I loved to play football all of my life. I just started playing cornerback my junior year in high school. Transition doesn’t bother me. I don’t care where I’m at – I just want to play.
How did the Steelers reach out to you – why do you think they asked you to come try out?
I don’t know really. After the draft ended I started praying – even harder than I normally do. I asked Jesus just to give me an opportunity. Then my phone rang and my agent hit me up with the Steelers offer. Then the Steelers called me – Tom Bradley. He said he wanted to bring me down to mini-camp to see what I could do. That he liked my film and wanted to see me in the return game, returning punts. I’m going to be doing that some tomorrow.
So, lastly, what advice would you give to guys following your path to the NFL?
Just to stay in the grind. Don’t give up. I didn’t even have an agent until New Years. I thought I might never get to play football again. I thought it was almost over for me. There are no guarantees, But I’m just blessed to be here now and play with this team.