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Steelers’ new linebacker Melvin Ingram to put on No. 8 in honor of Kobe Bryant

Melvin Ingram is bringing the “Mamba Mentality” to the Metal Metropolis. Shortly after signing with the Steelers, the 10-year veteran revealed that he would ditch his No. 54 jersey in lieu of No. 8. Ingram is at the moment the one Steelers’ defender who has taken benefit of the league’s new guidelines concerning jersey numbers. 

Throughout his first assembly with the native media, Ingram defined his resolution to alter jersey numbers. A part of Ingram’s resolution was influenced by Kobe Bryant, the NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. 

Ingram is hoping to do what Bryant did 5 instances throughout his 20-year profession: win a championship. The signing of Ingram definitely helps the Steelers’ odds at competing for a championship in 2021. The Steelers signed the previous Professional Bowl exterior linebacker to assist replenish their move rush after dropping Bud Dupree in free company. The transfer also needs to take among the consideration off All-Professional linebacker T.J. Watt, the league’s chief in sacks in 2020. 

Watt did not disguise his pleasure when requested about Ingram becoming a member of the Steelers’ huddle. Watt, who referred to as the two-time Professional Bowl participant “one of many premier move rushers within the league,” stated a number of instances that he was an admirer of Ingram’s work throughout his years with the Chargers. Watt would watch Ingram whereas additionally conserving his eye on his youthful brother, former Charger and present Steelers fullback Derek Watt. 

“I’m excited,” Watt stated throughout Pittsburgh’s first week of coaching camp, through Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley. “I labored with him in the course of the Professional Bowl. … He is only a participant that has a number of go off the road of scrimmage. He is received an exceptional spin transfer and simply seeing him in individual, he’s a colourful man and I’m excited to work with him.” 

The 18th general decide within the 2012 draft, Ingram’s breakout season befell in 2015, when he recorded double-digit sacks for the primary time whereas additionally forcing three fumbles. After tallying a career-high 5 pressured fumbles in 2016, Ingram was chosen to his first of three consecutive Professional Bowls in 2017. Whereas accidents restricted his availability (he appeared in simply seven video games) and productiveness final season, the Steelers are clearly assured that the 32-year-old Ingram can present each tangible and intangible worth to the roster. 

Like Watt, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had a constructive Professional Bowl expertise with Ingram. That have undoubtedly contributed to Pittsburgh’s curiosity in signing Ingram simply earlier than the beginning of coaching camp. 

“We have seen him lots over time,” Tomlin stated, through Jim Wexell of Metal Metropolis Insider. “We’re respectful of his physique of labor. However not solely that, we had been accustomed to him within the draft. He is a kind of guys that match the profile. We studied him and received to know him by means of the Draft course of, and normally, these are the blokes that we find yourself doubling again to and having an curiosity in after they’re out there in free company. So it makes the method a simple one. 

“We additionally had the chance, I believe in ’17 after we coached the Professional Bowl, we had him down in Orlando and actually received to know him some in that setting as effectively. So we felt actually snug that he can be a simple match as a person and as a participant.”

Tomlin stated it is too early to decipher Ingram’s function inside Pittsburgh’s protection. Ingram might begin over second-year OLB Alex Highsmith, who performed effectively after Dupree went down with an damage late within the 2020 season. Ingram may additionally be requested to supply high quality snaps behind Watt and Highsmith. Regardless, Ingram will certainly make an impression on Quincy Roche, the one exterior linebacker chosen by the Steelers on this 12 months’s draft. 

Ingram additionally brings with him a want to make it to professional soccer’s summit after developing quick throughout his run with the Chargers. That demeanor is embraced by Watt, who has not been shy about his championship ambitions.  

“He is an amazing man and an amazing participant,” Watt stated. “I’m excited to have him right here. I’m excited to have extra depth, have a man like Melvin in our rotation, in our room. A man that I’ve watched a number of over time. A man that I can be taught lots from too. Excited to have extra depth, excited for our group.”

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