Of the entirety of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster, there is precisely one player who has ever experienced making it to the Super Bowl—and even he didn’t get to play in it. That would be Larry Ogunjobi, who has been a bit of a good luck charm for the AFC North in recent years.
During his final season with the Cleveland Browns in 2020, they won their first postseason game since 1994—over the Steelers. A year later, he signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, who proceeded not only to win their first postseason game in even longer, but even ran all the way to the Super Bowl, coming up just short.
Ogunjobi was unfortunately injured in the first postseason game for the Bengals, so he could only watch his teammates plow ahead from the sidelines. But that, if anything, he only made him hungrier to get back there and experience it from the perspective of being in the game.
“Being on a Super Bowl team and not being able to play was probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life, just because you work so hard, you’re playing the best season of your life, and then, like that”, he said with the snap of his fingers, part of an interview in the latest installment of the team’s The Standard video series.
“I’m grateful, I’m blessed for another opportunity to get a chance at it again”, he added, now with Pittsburgh. “It’s a week-by-week league, but that feeling, being there, seeing that emotion, wanting to make those plays and not being able to because you’re not playing, and you understand how big and how special that moment is and how special that moment can be. I’ll definitely remember that for a long time, and that will be something that I chase each and every day I come to work”.
Pittsburgh is unfortunately currently in last place in the AFC North after the Bengals defeated the Miami Dolphins last night, but there is still plenty of football left to play. Yet this may be Ogunjobi’s only chance in Pittsburgh.
You will recall that he originally signed a three-ear, $40.5 million contract in March with the Chicago Bears, only to have the team fail him on his physical and wipe out the deal, as he was still recovering from his injury.
The Steelers signed him in June after Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement, the two sides agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8 million, Ogunjobi obviously hoping to parlay a strong season into the sort of deal he knows he should have had half a year ago.
Through three games, he has nine tackles, including one for loss, with half a sack, and has shown himself to be no worse for wear as far as his previous injury is concerned. The Steelers took a patient approach with him, ramping him up so that he could hit the ground running when it mattered, and he has. Will he help fuel them to a championship run this season?
I wouldn’t hold my breath.