Training Camp

Tomlin Commends Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Professionalism: ‘Minkah Is A Serious Competitor’

During Thursday’s press conference, Mike Tomlin addressed the media prior to Pittsburgh’s second regular season game this Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Tomlin gave an injury update in terms of who will be held out of the contest and who might play as well as spoke about how the QB rotation will be handled Saturday night with Kenny Pickett getting extended run with the second team offense.

When asked about S Minkah Fitzpatrick and what he’s seen from the All-Pro safety this training camp, Tomlin gave nothing but glowing reviews for his star defender on the back end of the defense.

“You know, Minkah is a serious competitor,” Tomlin responded to the media during the press conference via Steelers.com. “And it shows in environments like this he always wants to cover receivers. He wants to tackle running backs. He wants to blitz. He’s just a football player. He’s a guy that loves football. He’s a guy that loves competition and, boy he’s just really is a good guy to have in an environment like this because it’s never a down day with him. He’s always about it. And he’s always ready to work.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick has been the consummate pro since Pittsburgh traded for him back in 2019, sending a first-round pick in exchange for him after being selected 11th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft just a year prior. Fitzpatrick immediately provided a spark to the Steelers’ defense as he picked off five passes, forced a fumble, and recovered two more in 14 games. Since joining Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick has had a hand in 18 turnovers, three of which he has taken back for defensive touchdowns.

Last season, Fitzpatrick was asked to play a different role in the defense that struggled against the run, often resorting to being the last line of defense as running backs would get loose in the second and third levels of the defense. This led to Fitzpatrick leading the Steelers in tackles last season with 124 on the year while also limiting his impact at forcing turnovers which Tomlin, commented on earlier this week.

Fitzpatrick participated in a hold in earlier this offseason as he worked toward a contract extension with Pittsburgh, but he remained actively engaged throughout the process, mentioning that it was important to him to get the mental reps and show support to his teammates while he was trying to secure his financial future. As a player that has taken up more of a leadership role after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger and a cornerstone of the defense for years to come, Fitzpatrick has endeared himself to Mike Tomlin as well as the rest of the Steelers organization thanks to how he goes about his business. He is a versatile defensive back that can play a variety of roles for a defense and lets his play do the talking on the field.

Tomlin has said time and again that he wants volunteers, not hostages. Minkah Fitzpatrick has been that and more for the Steelers since being dealt by Miami, often staying on the practice field long after the scheduled session is over to put in the extra work. When asked about why he and Najee Harris are often the last two players on the field, Tomlin explained that is just how Fitzpatrick is wired.

“It’s probably because Minkah makes him, you know?” Tomlin said on Fitzpatrick and Harris staying after practice. “Minkah is kind of big bro. He’s known him since he was 18. And so, those steel waters run pretty deep.”

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