As we know, the Pittsburgh Steelers have had their most aggressive free agency in their team history. They’ve spent over $80M acquiring new players to upgrade the roster. Since acquiring them, they’ve had the newest Steelers sit down for 1-on-1 interviews with Steelers Radio Network reporter, Mike Prisuta. The most recent one released was with who most regard as the biggest (literally and figuratively) acquisition of the off-season in offensive lineman, James Daniels.
Right off the bat, Prisuta asked what Daniels was told his role would be on the line. Daniels said they hadn’t gotten into the specifics of that, but is ready to help the team win at any position, and is ready to get to work. He stated that he is excited about the opportunity for him to play for such a historic organization. Daniels said regardless of the position he is asked to play, he will fulfill his role. He stated he has no true preference of position.
Daniels then went on to say he’s excited to wear his college number again, and that it will be cool to wear with the black and gold due to the similarity in uniform and color for Pittsburgh and his alma matter Iowa University. Prisuta mentioned Daniels viral pancake block against linebacker Denzel Perryman and asked if Steeler fans can expect more of that. Daniels laughed and responded with this:
“You can expect me to finish, but I think that was a once in a lifetime block. Unless I play him again and he tries to do the exact same thing.”
The Steelers do play the Las Vegas Raiders this year, so Daniels will have a chance to do so again. He did iterate that he is a “get to the second level” type of guy:
“Blocking of course, every run play you want to secure the line of scrimmage, that gets the run started. But, those blocks and those extra effort plays on the second level, third level, those really spring the runs for big plays. So instead of a 5 or 7 yard gain it’s a 17 or a 28 yard gain.”
Prisuta then asked what stood out when Daniels and his former team the Chicago Bears played Pittsburgh this past season which was Daniels’ first time facing his new team:
“It was exciting because I’ve never played them or been to a Steelers game before. I had only been to a Pitt [University] football game. So, it was a Monday night game. It was an electric environment. Heinz Field looks really cool from the inside. The fans were just wild and it was an electric environment. You can tell, and I could even see today, how highly people talk about the organization here. It’s just a very historic organization and I’m excited I’m able to play for them.”
Daniels also mentioned how it is cool to see people inside the organization who have been here for so long and how passionate they are about the team. He said it’s rare to see and he’s excited to be a part of it.
Prisuta asked if he had kept up with the other free agent signings Pittsburgh had made. He asked what he thought about the defensive signings in Myles Jack and Levi Wallace. Daniels answered saying he’s excited for them and thinks it will be good for the defense. He remembered the injuries Pittsburgh was suffering on that side of the ball when facing them last season and felt it was great to add those pieces to an already fierce unit. Prisuta then mentioned he may be familiar with the new quarterback in town, Mitchell Trubisky, who Daniels played with and blocked for, for three years in Chicago. When asked what people should know about Trubisky, Daniels had this to say:
“Mitch is a great guy. I loved him in Chicago. I mean, it just didn’t work out there, but Mitch has a great opportunity here to do something special, and I’m just excited to be here playing with him again.”
This is what all fans are hoping. Trubisky has big holes to fill as the likely immediate successor to Ben Roethlisberger. A former number 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Trubisky spent four years in Chicago, in which he led the Bears to two playoff berths and one division title. He boasted a 29-21 record as a starter (25-13 discounting his rookie season). He has thrown for 10,652 yards, as well as 64 touchdowns and 38 interceptions. He has a career rating of 87. He took this past season to sit back and hone in on his skills in a backup capacity for the Buffalo Bills, backing up one of and even perhaps the best young quarterback in football, Josh Allen. He got to spend time with the staff that developed Allen, a similar prospect to Trubisky coming out, into the star he is today. Hopefully Trubisky can take a hold of the opportunity Daniels was speaking of and indeed turn it into something special.
Daniels was asked why it seems everyone calls Trubisky a great guy. Daniels responded saying this:
“He cares about his teammates, but he cares about them more than football. He cares about them as a person. He always talks to them, asks how they’re doing, how their family is doing, things like that. Mitch would text me all the time when we were playing together. He would text me asking how I’m doing. ‘Cause I mean coming in as a rookie, it’s tough. New city, things like that, and Mitch was always texting and checking in on me. I really appreciate what he’s done for me.”
In closing, Prisuta asked if Trubisky and Daniels himself have their best football in front of them, and that if this is a right place, right time kind of thing with him being so young:
“Yes definitely, I do think his [Trubisky] best football is in front of him…I would say yes as well [for Daniels himself]…I definitely think it’s right place, right time. I don’t think a team would sign any player, pay them a lot of money, if their best football was behind them. So I’m just excited that I was given this opportunity and that the Steelers believe in me, believe in my play, and they know that I’m just going to keep on improving and just do my best.”
It sounds like Pittsburgh has gotten not only two quality players, but two quality human beings. It will be fun to see the two reunite on the field, and if what Daniels says is true, he and Trubisky can start something special in the Steel City.
Watch the full interview here.