Minkah Fitzpatrick Is Humble and Hungry for Greatness Ahead of 2020 Season

Matt Sunday / DKPS

By: Jared Villani, @JVillain10
SteelerNation.com

Pittsburgh Steelers safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the league’s bright young stars with a special skill-set that is drawing early comparisons to Hall of Fame safeties such as Brian Dawkins, Ed Reed, and Troy Polamalu. While some may think the comparisons are being made a bit prematurely, Fitzpatrick’s numbers are astounding with 18 passes defended, seven interceptions, and 149 combined tackles over the course of two seasons.

There were rumblings that Pittsburgh had possibly given up too much as they traded their 2020 first round pick to acquire Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins after just two games into last season, but his play speaks for itself and any doubts were quickly erased. As the season progressed, it was easy to see Fitzpatrick’s skill-set was unlike most players at his position and that was confirmed as he was named First Team All-Pro in just his second year.

Despite already being one of the league’s best at his position, Fitzpatrick has his mind set on how he can continue to grow and what it will take for him to separate himself from the pack, stating:

“There’s definitely a game within the game. This isn’t just people running around hitting each other. There’s a gap between the good and the great and a gap between the great and the elite. I think the elite guys are athletic [and] also know how to play the game within the game. Guys that really separate themselves know how to play that game within the game.”

Fitzpatrick is not only unique on the field, but off the field as well with his humble approach to the game as he continues:

“I don’t like just saying stuff. Saying, ‘Oh, I can be one of the best!’I think I prepare and I train and work like I want to be one of the best of the best. One of the best to play the game. I want to be compared to the Ed Reeds and the Polamalus and the Brian Dawkinses of the game. That’s the standard that I work to and the standard I try to hold myself to.”

It was just two seasons ago the Miami Dolphins took Fitzpatrick at the 11th overall spot, but his time with Miami was nothing short of frustrating. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores seemed determined to spread Fitzpatrick around the field as much as possible while simultaneously taking him away from where he excelled most. Fitzpatrick opened up about his time in Miami, stating:

“We had a difference of opinion in my skill-set and what he thought I could do and what I thought I could do. It was going to get tough for me to show something to somebody they were choosing not to see. They didn’t give me the opportunity to show it, even though I had film that showed it. The losing and all that stuff? If I was put in the right position and we’re losing—because of decisions people made upstairs—it is what it is. I can only control how I play. That didn’t affect me at all. It was just a fact that I was being used the wrong way. And we had a difference of opinion between myself and the head coach.”

Although it’s safe to assume the Steelers potentially knew what they were getting by trading for Fitzpatrick, the difference he made within the Steelers secondary was immediate and provided an incredible amount of promise going forward. Players with the skill-set, confidence, humility, and ability for growth do not come around often, but the Steelers have that player in Minkah Fitzpatrick.

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