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Minkah Fitzpatrick explains why she is excited to play for Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin



Minkah Fitzpatrick, after meeting Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin before the 2018 NFL draft, told his mother that he wanted to play for Pittsburgh's head coach at some point during his career in NFL.

Fitzpatrick got what he wanted.

After 18 games in Miami, Fitzpatrick, a versatile defensive back and the 11th overall pick in last year's draft, was traded to the Steelers on Monday. He will start in free safety in Pittsburgh's upcoming game, a road game against the 2-0 San Francisco 49ers.

Fitzpatrick, in an interview with Steelers.com's Missi Matthews, discussed a range of topics that included how he found out he was traded to Pittsburgh.

"Late [Monday] night, I got a phone call from Chris Grier, the GM at the Dolphins," Fitzpatrick said. "We had a little talk, and at the end of it, he told me they made the deal and that I was going to Pittsburgh."

How did he get the news?

"I'm glad, honestly," Fitzpatrick said. "Pittsburgh is a historic program, always known for [having] a great defense. Coach Tomlin was a great coach. Speaking to him a couple of times before last year's draft. Now it just feels good. about her as a coach and as a person. I told my mom after I met her, I said, & # 39; She is a coach I want to play for one day, & # 39; s so excited about it . "

What did he like about Tomlin in meeting him?

"It's just like the way he carries himself," Fitzpatrick said. "Obviously I saw him on the coach before on the field, then I got to know him personally as a person. It just confirmed everything that was said about him. He was a players coach. He was easy to talk to. He wasn't trying to be. to be too cool or too mean or anything like that. He was being himself, and something I said I wanted to play for someday. "

Fitzgerald, who played many positions in Miami, talked about what he liked about the safety position.

"I wish you could move on and do a bunch of other things," he said. "Whether you play certain positions, you just do the same thing with every snap or you can't move. In safety, just backing up in general, a lot of flexibility. You can do many different things." . can blitz, you can cover, you can cover half [the field] you can cover the whole field. I certainly like this aspect. "

Will he agree that his versatility includes to his greatest qualities as a player? 1

9659008] "Yes, I will," he said. "Last year, my rookie year, I played all over the field, playing at a high level where they put me in. Obviously there were things I could improve on, but I think I did a pretty good job, and that is why I'm here, to keep growing, to constantly improve and work on my strengths and weaknesses and just keep going. "

Fitzpatrick is expected to play alongside Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh's starting strong safety selected 17 seats after Fitzpatrick at & # 39; 18 drafts.

"I know him well," said Fitzpatrick of Edmunds, who last season won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award given annually to the team's leading rookie. "We practiced a little bit in Florida before coming together for a couple of weeks. He was a competitor. Every single drill, we compete. In exercise, we are out competing. I'm glad he can work. He's a professional. He brings himself the right way and the field. I am excited to get him to work. "

Fitzpatrick said learning the playbook and the terminology of Pittsburgh's defensive scheme would be the biggest challenge he was preparing for. Sunday's game against the 49ers. While he has a lot of work to do between now and Sunday, Fitzpatrick said he's excited about getting what he considers a fresh start in Pittsburgh.

"That's exactly it. It's a fresh start, a clean slate," he said. "This is just another opportunity to prove myself and what I can do to add to this team."

A New Jersey native, Fitzpatrick shares what he learned after Hurricane Irene devastated his family's home back in 2011. Fitzpatrick, who was 14, said the experience was taught him the value of hard words while also appreciating what he had.

"During that time, I certainly learned a lot about myself, about my family, as anyone who goes through anything, you always learn a lot about yourself," he said. "It taught you to appreciate small things, because after that, I didn't have clothes, shoes or anything. I had to go to other people for that.

" "19459013] I was taught to appreciate small things in life, to appreciate my family, and it just taught me how to work hard because, after all, my family and I pretty much rebuilt our home. I had to shift my focus from school to football. It just taught me how to manage my time and honestly have a professional mindset at a young age and grow faster than most people. "


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