Photo Gallery: Mitchell Press Conference
- Getting his attention: Teams are permitted to contact player agents during the NFL’s three-day negotiating period that leads up to free agency. The Steelers touched base with Mitchell’s agent during that time, and when the agent shared that with Mitchell, it got his attention.
“Growing up around the Cincinnati area that was a team you knew about. Being a Bengals fan when I was a kid you are afraid of them. I jumped at the opportunity. I know what the franchise is about. The way that they play football here I think fits my personality. It’s very hard-nosed. This division itself, the AFC North, is very physical. It was just too many things to pass up. I immediately identified them as a team I wanted to go to and I think the feeling was mutual.”
A perfect fit: Just hearing Mitchell talk for a minute you can tell he is easily going to fit into the style of football the Steelers play, and will quickly become a key ingredient on the defense.
“The brand of football that the Steelers are about and they play is very hard-nosed, physical and smash-mouthed. I think my personality and the way that I play just meshes perfectly with what we are trying to do here.”
- Someone to learn from: Mitchell is already looking forward to getting the opportunity to learn from safety
Troy Polamaluand play with him in the Steelers’ defense. “It’s going to be a great honor and learning experience. Being a young guy out in Oakland I didn’t have an older player to learn from. Everything I have picked up has been on my own. I think learning from arguably the best player ever to play my position it’s only going to be good things from this experience. He is a great football player. I look forward to seeing how he works, practices and studies.
“I don’t know if I am going to be jumping over the line of scrimmage to make those types of crazy plays, but hopefully there are some things I can pick up from him that will one day make me a great player.”
Risk pays off: After playing his first four NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders, Mitchell took a chance and signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers, as he was “banking on myself” to make the most of it and hopefully turn it into something bigger.
Mitchell had the best year of his career in 2013 while with Carolina, taking advantage of the opportunity.
“I felt like I always just needed an opportunity to showcase my talents. When I got that opportunity in Carolina, the rest is history. I just look forward to this opportunity to show them again. It’s no different now. Those types of things motivate me and help me get out of bed in the morning. I am big on Twitter and things like that. I read a lot of what people say. Those are things you put in the back of your mind. When it’s 6 a.m. and you are going to work, it’s easy.
“I am a work in progress. As human beings we are all getting better at life, in our respective fields, and I am no different. I work extremely hard. I can say this with the utmost confidence. If you put me in a room with anyone I think he is going to die first if it comes down to working out. I have that type of tenacity and work ethic.”
Feeling the love: Mitchell has only been a member of the Steelers for two days now, but said he has already gained over 10,000 followers on his Twitter account (@MikeMitchell34) and it’s likely that number will keep growing.
“Steelers Nation is definitely alive and going strong. You can feel it. I feel very welcomed. It’s a very warm feeling. People want to see me do good. I can’t wait to get to work with my teammates.”