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Insider Only Steelers – Monday: The safety tandem that could save or doom the Steelers defense



PITTSBURGH — They might not be Butch and Sundance, but Pittsburgh Steelers safeties Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas are as close as they need to be.

At least that’s what Mitchell believes. Thomas, a third-year player who has been tapped to replace legendary Troy Polamalu, has been torched quite often during this preseason. And Mitchell has been absent as well with two injuries.

“I just try to take everything in stride,” Mitchell said Monday. “You can’t get too high or too low. I can only control the things that I can control. I can’t ask myself why. I know that there wasn’t anything I could have done to prevent (the injuries). So, I just try to keep my head down, stay focused, stay positive and keep working.”

While his injuries could have potentially been serious and nagging, Mitchell believed he is on the right track going into the final preseason game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers at Heinz Field.

“There’s a couple times when I had some low days, but I have a great support system with my parents and close friends, and they help me get out of those low times quickly,” Mitchell said. “It’s just like anyone else who has a great support system. I have a great support system as well.

“And because they were such small injuries, there wasn’t a time when I thought it was over. It was a hamstring and an ankle sprain. Those things are minute, in terms of football injuries. We took our time with my hamstring, and my hamstring feels 100 percent. The ankle was just a freak accident.”

MitchelI stepped on a foot and rolled his ankle, so there was nothing he could do to prevent it.

“They just happen,” Mitchell said. “You don’t really think about it, and you keep going.”

Thomas has stayed healthy, so far, this season. But he strives for something else in his game.

“Being consistent,” Thomas said. “That’s probably the biggest thing that I put on myself. I need to be more consistent, and I keep working hard to get there. I just take one day at a time and put my faith in God and keep working. And I think we’ll continue to get better. That’s what practice is for.”

No matter what Mitchell and Thomas believe, many think the Steelers need to get them some playing time in game situations.

“That’s true in training camp, but if you think about it we’ve had a substantial amount Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

About The Author

Dale Grdnic

TIOPS Steelers Beat Writer

Dale Grdnic is a contributor to Inside Pittsburgh Sports, covering the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pitt Football. Dale has covered the Pittsburgh Sports scene for over 15 years with various publications

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