What are the odds of being a sixth-year veteran going onto your third team and having all of them come from the same division? Now, how about if you factor in an unconsummated contract agreement with a club from an entirely different conference?
Larry Ogunjobi was a third-round pick out of Charlotte by the Cleveland Browns in 2017. He played out his rookie contract for them, helping them win their first playoff game in 2020 since the 1994 season, but not before playing a key role in the Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph debacle of the year prior.
As an unrestricted free agent in 2021, he signed a one-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals, who just so happened to win their first playoff game in three decades with him as a starter, indeed making it all the way to the Super Bowl.
He parlayed that into a three-year offer from the Chicago Bears worth north of $13 million per season, only to have the deal fall through following a failed physical. And so he ended up finding himself back in the AFC North, signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers after Stephon Tuitt retired.
“God doesn’t make mistakes. And he has a funny sense of humor”, Ogunjobi told reporters on Saturday about the circumstances that led him back into the AFC North on a third different team, given his history. “It’s kind of funny to be here after all the other teams I’ve been on. But it’s cool. They welcomed me with open arms, and I’m excited for the opportunity”.
Ogunjobi was suspended for one game for pushing a helmetless Rudolph to the ground after he had been struck in the head using his own helmet by Garrett, who served an indefinite suspension that lasted through the end of that season.
It’s been said multiple times that he and Rudolph had cleared the air, and Cameron Heyward said that Ogunjobi asked him if everything was going to be alright in the locker room with him in there. Heyward assured him that everybody’s focus was on winning, and it seems he has been fully embraced by the other players on the roster.
Of course, most of them weren’t even on the team when that happened, at this point, such is the nature of annual roster turnover in the NFL, even for a team as typically stable as Pittsburgh. It’s likely he’ll be part of that shuffle in 2023 after signing just a one-year deal.
Could the Baltimore Ravens be his next team? A reporter jokingly asked him about completing the AFC North in the future by playing for the last team in the division to earn a championship. “Right now, my full focus is playing for the Steelers”, he said with a laugh.