Minkah Fitzpatrick was frustrated with his ever-changing role with the Miami Dolphins. Now in Pittsburgh, Fitzpatrick is excited for a new opportunity with the Steelers.
“It’s a fresh start, clean slate. It’s another opportunity to prove myself and what I can do and just add to this team,” Fitzpatrick said in an interview with the Steelers’ website.
Fitzpatrick was traded from Miami to Pittsburgh on Monday in a trade that saw five draft picks, including Pittsburgh’s 2020 first-round selection, change hands. Fitzpatrick said he got a call from Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier Monday night to inform his that he was being traded to the Steelers. The team had granted Fitzpatrick permission to seek a trade last week.
Fitzpatrick said he met Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the draft process last year and said he was a coach he hoped he’d be able to play for.
“I was excited, honestly,” Fitzpatrick said. “Pittsburgh is a storied program, always been known for a great defense. Coach Tomlin is a great coach. I spoke to him a couple times before the draft last year and just had a really good feeling about him as a coach and as a man. I told my mom after I met him he’s a coach I definitely would like to play for one day and I’m excited about it.
“The way he carried himself. Obviously I’d seen him coach before on the field and then I got to meet him in person as a man and it just affirmed everything that I said about him. He’s a players’ coach. He’s easy to talk to. He wasn’t trying to be too cool or too mean or anything like that. He was being himself and he’s definitely someone, like I said, that I’d love to play for.”
Fitzpatrick will only have a few days of practice to get up to speed with his new team before taking on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. However, the Steelers’ desire to keep Fitzpatrick anchored at safety will be a benefit in limiting the playbook he has to learn and putting him in a position he actually feels suits him well.
“I’m going to have to be in the playbook heavy,” he said. “I’m going to have to communicate with my teammates and coaches heavy. Just get comfortable with it. Be comfortable with going out there and playing with this new team, this new staff because I want to be able to go out there and play fast. I don’t want to have to think. I don’t want to have to over-process. I just want to go out there and play fast, play with my instincts and play my game.”