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Mike Mitchell anxious to finally hit something that isn't wearing white

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The Steelers offseason acquisition Mike Mitchell was forced to miss the first week of training due to a groin injury. Despite the setback, the veteran safety says he feels comfortable in his transition to the Steelers defense.

Kevin C. Cox

Mike Mitchell's debut training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a slow start, with him patrolling the sidelines the entire first week owing to a groin injury.

Despite being well accustomed to new surroundings, this being Mitchell's third NFL team in as many years, practice reps are invaluable for a guy adjusting to a new scheme and new teammates.

How big an effect is this missed time going to have?

Per Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune, Mitchell himself doesn't appear very worried about it.

"I'm glad I took the time to come here in the offseason," Mitchell said. "I knew it was going to be a big year for me because I knew it was going to be a little different defense."

"I took a lot of reps during OTAs, so I didn't miss a day..I had the playbook down, so I'm not making many errors. It's been a good transition for me from Carolina to here."

It's heartening to see Mitchell feeling and sounding so confident, and if he is indeed as comfortable with the playbook as he is making out, it will show up on the field. Once a player is confident in his role he begins to think less on what he is doing and starts to act on instinct, that's when he really starts flying to the football.

However, that doesn't mean Mitchell's job is done in training camp. He still has to work on building a rapport not only with fellow safety Troy Polamalu, but the rest of the defense as well.

"The only thing I'm working on is getting my legs under me and continuing to work with Troy" said Mitchell.

Chemistry, as intangible a thing as it is, will always be crucial in team sports. It always starts with earning the respect of your teammates, which Mike Mitchell appears to have done with his fellow defensive backs.

"It's new territory for Mike, but everyone respects a good football player," cornerback William Gay said. "We've all got to come together on the field, and that builds the chemistry — no matter who's on the field."

"Mike is smart as heck, and he knows what he's doing," cornerback Ike Taylor said. "We want to see if he's consistent in the game, but we all are going to be put in some tough situations. All that matters is how he handles his business on the field."

Above all the practice and team bonding there's one thing MItchell is ready to do more than anything else, and that's hit something that isn't wearing a white practice shirt.

"I'm looking forward to hitting somebody in live action," Mitchell said. "I know Coach (LeBeau) is going to keep an eye on me. I don't know how many plays I'm going to get out there, but it's great to test ourselves against another team. We're getting tired of going against the offense."

Of course, even when he's going against his own offense in practice that doesn't necessarily means he gets to hit anyone either, especially against a certain All Pro receiver.

"Antonio [Brown] needs to stop running out of bounds if he's going to talk trash," Mitchell said jokingly.

Steelers fans should be able to get their first look at new the new safety this Saturday against the Giants, where, hopefully, he can do some real hitting.

Note: The original post indicated that Mitchell was eager to hit something that wasn't wearing a yellow practice jersey. This has been edited because the Steelers offense wear white jerseys in practice.