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For Steelers opponents, beware the “dancing bear” on the defensive line

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2nd Round pick is already turning heads.

NFL Combine Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

When you have new players in the NFL, there are times when you see comparisons to other players, or descriptions of their play in the different phases of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).

You might see a reporter compare a rookie to a legend of that particular franchise. You might also see them talk about a player being “as strong as an ox”. These are very common place across the NFL landscape.

However, of all the analogies and descriptions used to label rookies in the league, a “dancing bear” might be a first that I’ve seen. For fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, this was the exact description defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi gave rookie defensive lineman Keeanu Benton.

“I like him a lot. He is like a dancing bear,” said Ogunjobi. “He moves really, really well for that size. I think the ceiling is super high for him.”

When Benton heard that comment, he was honored.

“That is an honor that he said that,” said Benton. “I feel like I am pretty agile for my size. Just kind of that wrestling background helps out a little bit. That is a great compliment that I got. I still have more work to do.”

Another honor for Benton was the fact Ogunjobi even spoke about him. Ogunjobi isn’t very talking, so any time he even gives a rookie the time of day it is considered a positive.

“He doesn’t talk much, so I am glad I got that compliment,” said Benton. “He doesn’t talk much. That is one of the guys you have to gain his respect to even talk to him.”

“You have to gain respect,” said Benton. “That is something I haven’t gained yet. I haven’t put anything on film, but it’s going to come in time.”

For Benton, the transition from Wisconsin to the NFL has been easier with him knowing some of his fellow rookies, especially his college teammate Nick Herbig. It has allowed Benton to become more comfortable in his new home.

“It has been pretty fun,” said Benton. “The transition was a lot easier knowing that I know people here. I am not coming in alone as a rookie. That was my biggest fear going into the NFL, that I was going to be a rookie and not know anybody. This is the perfect place I landed where I know four people on the team. It’s awesome. I feel like the physical part is not there until we get to Latrobe. But getting my playbook down and getting to know all the nuances is a big thing I am focusing on now.”

If Benton can contribute along the defensive line, at any position, his rookie season it will be a big boost for a team who is looking to solidify the trenches. The fact he is getting even some reviews, not suggesting they are “rave” reviews, is a positive.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.