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Zach Banner: “The Motivation Is There”

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Zach Banner: “The Motivation Is There”

As if last season wasn’t complicated enough, the Pittsburgh Steelers started their season on the road at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants on Monday Night football. The result of the game was one to celebrate as the Steelers won the game 26-16, but the only downfall was that starting right tackle, Zach Banner (who was making his first career start), suffered a torn ACL on a play early in the 1st half. Banner stands at 6 foot 8, 360 pounds, so naturally he looks the part. He beat out Chukwuma Okorafor for the starting spot after a competition in training camp and was bound to take the starting spot and roll with it. Unfortunately, Banner’s injury was one that was going to keep him out for the remainder of the year, the worst possible situation for a player trying to prove himself in this league. 

 

 

Banner had already done a good job in accommodating himself with the Steelers culture, making himself comfortable with the fan base. It all started in 2019 when Banner played in 14 of the 16 games that year. Banner was the backup tackle at the time, only seeing the field in certain key situations when his talents were needed, the typical role of a backup lineman. The only difference was, when Banner entered the game, the announcement “Number 72 has reported as an eligible receiver” would come over the loudspeakers at Heinz Field. That announcement was met with the loud roar of cheering fans, excited to see Banner on the field no matter that situation. Not only were the fans falling in love with the offensive tackle, it seemed like the coaching staff was starting to as well.

“There are different reasons and types of motivation,” said Banner. “The first year was to make the team. I have been blessed to be on the active roster my entire career. I wasn’t settling for that. Then it was to make an impact. Then it was ’72 is eligible’ the next year. Then Coach T challenged me and said become one of 64, one of 64 tackles in the league, and I did.”

That being said, the injury Banner had suffered last season could have put a huge halt on the Steelers plans for the offensive line. Luckily for us, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Steelers signed Banner to a new two-year contract worth $9.5 million earlier this month, and it seems like all signs are pointing to this move being the team’s sign of Banner being the starting RT for next season, giving him the chance that the organization feels like he deserves. In an article posted by Steelers.com writer Teresa Varley, Banner mentions his strong approach on how he’s handling this opportunity.

“Getting hurt last year after that, it was heartbreaking, the knee was definitely heartbreaking. Through the reassurances of the team and my rehab and my work, it shouldn’t hinder me. It’s now a new motivation. It’s a lot on my shoulders because when you sign a bigger contract like that it gets more attention. There is more both good and bad pressure. At the same time, I am ready for it. It’s something I have been dreaming about my whole life. The motivation is there. I am settling in to solidify Pittsburgh being my home.”

It sounds like Banner is doing everything in his power to make sure he is able to be this team’s starting RT when the new league year begins. He had been rehabbing his injured knee during all of last season’s games after not being able to travel with the team due to Covid-19 regulations, which has now seemed to form a new motivation that pushes him to compete each and every day. The only real question that remains is how productive he will be at that spot consistently. Not many of us have seen much “Zach Banner football” if you will since his arrival to the ‘Burgh, but have always had the trust when the play goes his direction. All signs point to him being a solid starter in this league, we are just going to have to wait and see where the motivation takes him.

 

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Read the full article here:

https://www.steelers.com/news/living-out-his-dream

 

Let us hear how you think Zach Banner will do this upcoming year! Comment below!

#SteelerNation

I'm a 25 year old die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan from upstate NY. I can safely say that I have not missed a single Steelers game over the last 16 years. Always thankful to my dad for raising me a fan of the black & gold. Love writing about anything Steelers related, trying to get the breaking news to the best fans in the NFL! Follow me on twitter @JonClark_7 & HERE WE GO!

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