More than three weeks after joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in a depth role at outside linebacker, veteran pass rusher Melvin Ingram remains enthralled with the fact that he’s now a member of such a prestigious franchise with a vaunted defense ahead of the 2021 season.
Speaking to reporters after his first preseason action against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field, Ingram reiterated his stance on the Steelers’ defense, saying it’s a blessing to be part of such a talented unit.
After signing with the Steelers, Ingram said it was an amazing opportunity to join a premier franchise in the NFL.
“I always knew they were a great team, but when I came and met with everybody, it was amazing”, he said. “I just felt like the program, the coaches, the team, everybody—it was just a place that I felt like a place I can call home, a place I can come here and fit in. Everything is amazing here, down to the coaches, the players, the city. Just how they do everything. And they welcomed me with open arms”.
So far, Ingram has been everything the Steelers expected and more, being a bully in the run game, while also providing veteran leadership to some of the younger outside linebackers on the roster like Jamir Jones and Quincy Roche, who are not only competing for 53-man rosters, but also practice squad jobs.
Following Thursday’s preseason win over the Eagles, Ingram praised the Steelers’ defensive units that have worked hard and prepared day in and day out to perform when the lights come on, saying it’s a blessing to be a Steeler.
“It’s been phenomenal since day one. Just how they lead, just how they work and how they play,” Ingram said. “They come to work every day ready to put the work in no matter what the day is or what the occasion is. So, it’s a blessing to be a part of.”
For now, Ingram appears slotted for a reserve role as OLB3 on the Steelers’ 53-man roster for the 2021 season. Though the reserve role might sound like a slight for the veteran pass rusher, he’ll see plenty of snaps rotating in and out for Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt throughout the season, keeping guys fresh.
In fact, Ingram tried to get a jump on that Thursday night, switching spots with Alex Highsmith early in the game to try and get game reps at left and right outside linebacker in game action.
“We were just getting reps on both sides. The more you can do in this league, the better it is for you, so me and him were just playing both sides,” Ingram said. “You never know with injuries that happen, all types of stuff, you never know – anything can come up, so I always tell him, ‘Let’s get reps on both sides so we can be comfortable in both places.’”
Not only is it a blessing for Ingram to be with the Steelers, the franchise has to feel like it’s a blessing to have such a talented, experienced pass rusher as the third outside linebacker on the roster in a year in which they’re trying to win a seventh Lombardi Trophy.