Pittsburgh Steelers Mitchell Ready To Hit Hard… But Not Too Hard


Dec 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) is tackled by Carolina Panthers free safety Mike Mitchell (21) in the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

A reputation for hard hitting and fined ten times since 2010 to go along with it.  No I’m not talking about former Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison.  The oft fined and targeted player I speak of is newly acquired safety Mike Mitchell.  If you think guys like former safety and media glam doll Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu were known for their hard hitting, Mitchell is just about tops on the charts.

Ever since the various rule changes that are aimed to benefit player ‘safety,’ Mitchell has struggled to adjust and has been outright frustrated with Rodger Goodell and the league cracking down on his hard hitting escapades.  The former Panther was never shy about letting folks know about what he thought, especially the league.  After being fined for taunting during a game, Mitchell said, “I’m just being targeted because I play football and am physical.”  Sounds like Mitchell would fit right in were Harrison and Clark, two of Rodger Goodell’s most open nemeses, still part of this team.

However, according to Mitchell (and reported by Scott Brown), he’s become a changed man…. at least through his words for the moment.

"I’ve adjusted to the new rules changes and just looked forward to playing clean football and not getting fined this year.  At the end of the day, they’re just trying to crack down on the rules, and I’ve adjusted my game to fit within those rules."

I can’t help but be a “I’ll believe it when I see it” kind of person when it comes to guys like Mitchell, who have such a reputation that states otherwise.  We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.  As long as it doesn’t affect his ability to take down a receiver or ball carrier, I don’t care how much he lets up on the high or defenseless hits.  It’s a tough thing to deprogram out of someone who’s been in the league for a long time and was never coached at an early age/stage in their career to keep the hits low.

Sounds like he’s a bit more interested in getting interceptions rather than laying someone out.  “I want to get the football.  If you take the ball away and give it to a quarterback likeBen Roethlisberger, you’re mostly likely going to win those games.”  Fine reasoning there, and I hope he’s successful with it.