Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle, Larry Ogunjobi was one of the more underrated signings made in the off-season. He’s coming off a career-best year with the Cincinnati Bengals, which included seven sacks and 12 tackles for loss. After his deal with the Chicago Bears fell through earlier this off-season, the Steelers came knocking on his door. His signing was particularly crucial after the retirement of Stephon Tuitt.
Ogunjobi missed a few weeks of action in training camp, as he continued to recover from his foot injury. Now, he’s been back on the field for over a week and his impact has been obvious. On a defensive line that was banged up and struggled immensely in the run game in 2021, Ogunjobi should help stabilize things alongside Cam Heyward and a now-healthy, Tyson Alualu.
After playing for two different teams within the AFC North, the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, Ogunjobi knows the class of the Steelers organization. While it’s been from afar in years past, he now is able to see it first-hand. From Steelers beat writer, Teresa Varley, Ogunjobi talked about just that:
“Playing against them, you understand why they have been so good for a long time. Coach [Mike] Tomlin does an amazing job of just rallying the guys,” Ogunjobi said via Varley. “Making them understand all the aspects of football and I think that is very important. You see it when you are not a part of it, but when you are a part of it, you see why you come to Latrobe, you see the camaraderie, the team building, and just what is asked of you.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin continues to receive praise from those around the league. In his tenure with the Steelers, he’s been the ultimate players coach. While he’s received some unfair criticism at times, Tomlin is one of the better coaches in football. Not only does he have two Super Bowl appearances, but the team has never finished under .500 with him as coach. Let’s hope that streak does not end this season.
His importance and leadership on the team has even encouraged guys from afar to come to the team. It likely played a role in Ogunjobi coming to don the black and gold, and Myles Jack has attributed his move to Pittsburgh to Tomlin and linebackers coach Brian Flores. The same can be said for Flores, who the Steelers probably would have never called to be a defensive assistant.
Beyond just Tomlin, as we know it, the Steelers have rich tradition, the most pristine one in NFL history. That aspect also helps bring guys to the team in free agency. While the team’s never exactly paid top dollar for free agents, their tradition makes up for it some. Ogunjobi discussed what it means to be a Steeler, as he aims to pay his dues to the team legends.
“Anytime you are given an opportunity by a team like this, a franchise like this, you have a responsibility. You have to pay your dues to the people that came before you. I have been watching the Steelers since I was a kid, so I know the level of intensity, the level of respect you have to put in to make this thing work,” Ogunjobi said via Varley’s article on Steelers.com.
The Steelers are grateful to get a guy like Ogunjobi at the cost they got him for. He will play a large role in helping return the 2022 defense to dominant form.
What are your expectations for him in his first season in Pittsburgh? If he excels, do you think the team will try to bring him back and extend him next off-season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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