Thanks to a groin injury suffered while training over the course of the last several weeks, new Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell started off training camp on the Active PUP list. While head coach Mike Tomlin said that he expects the former second-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders to only be down a week or so, Mitchell said Sunday he’s using his down time to continue to learn.
“There’s still plenty of ways for me to get better. I can sharpen myself in the film room; take every single mental rep which I wouldn’t do if I was practicing,” said Mitchell. “Now I pay attention on every rep. There are a lot of other things I can do for my body. It’s a little bit of a setback, but it will make my comeback that much better.”
Mitchell chooses to be optimistic about his injury and actually views it as a blessing in disguise, because it allows him to stand with defensive backs coach Carnell Lake and see what he sees during training camp practices.
“It’s good for me because I am standing back there with Coach Lake and we’ll go over each play and I can see what the other guys are doing,” said Mitchell, who has yet to reveal just how he injured his groin. “I teach myself based on what they are doing. If he corrects them it’s like he is correcting me at the same time because I literally just saw what the other guy did.”
Due to fellow starting safety Troy Polamalu deciding to skip the OTA practices this offseason in order to stay home in California to work on his own conditioning, Mitchell was only able to practice with his new teammate during the mandatory mini camp. He doesn’t see that as being an issue, however, as he believes that Polamalu’s experience combined with his vast understanding of the Steelers defensive playbook will help the duo out immensely once he is healthy enough to participate.
“When I am back we’ll be fine,” said Mitchell. “We talk a lot. We talk every day in meetings. When you have one of the best safeties in the league to play with, your job isn’t that hard.”
With Mitchell currently sidelined, veteran Will Allen was working as the first-team free safety alongside Polamalu during the first practice on Saturday.