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Mike Tomlin Hands Out Game Balls To All New Players: ‘They Came Alongside Us And Fought As If They Had Been Here’

The year 2022 marks significant change for the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. Lots of familiar faces departed, both on and off the field, but if there is one defining consistency, it is head coach Mike Tomlin, who marked his team’s upset victory in their season opener by making note of the contributions of those who have come on board this year to join their collective efforts without missing a beat.

It’s just good to come in here in a hostile environment and not blink, particularly with the number of new guys, whether they’re rookies or new to us”, he said in the opening remarks of his post-game press conference yesterday following their 23-20 overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. “I just gave all the new guys game balls”.

That includes wide range of personnel, particularly starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, as well as numerous other starters—linemen Mason Cole and James Daniels, wide receiver George Pickens, defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi, linebacker Myles Jack, and cornerback Levi Wallace. Also of note are others such as Malik Reed, DeMarvin Leal, and Jaylen Warren, all of whom played their own role.

“The guys that have been here before, there’s a certain expectation”, Tomlin said as he stressed the importance of the contributions of the new faces. “They know what the standard of expectation is, but I can’t say enough about the new guys and how they came alongside us and fought as if they had been here, and that is just so critical in environments like this”.

Trubisky went 21-for-38 during the game for 194 yards and a touchdown pass while protecting the football. Jack totaled 10 tackles, while Ogunjobi had a sack, and Warren proved to be a capable blocker—both in blitz pickups and as a lead blocker for jet sweeps, of which Chase Claypool was the beneficiary.

“They’re getting on board. They’re keeping the company beat, and I’m appreciative of that”, Tomlin added of the contributions of the new faces that are a part of his team’s journey in 2022. Every year brings a new team with new faces, but this season has been particularly momentous given the significance of the names departed, Ben Roethlisberger’s name overshadowing all others.

It was his way of letting the new guys know that he appreciated their efforts to rise to the standard that they set for themselves without needing to warm up to it. They were thrown right into the fire against a tough divisional foe in adverse circumstances, and they not only survived but contributed to victory.

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