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Steelers Mike Mitchell feels he was overlooked in 2013

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Pro Bowl bids usually represent salary bonuses for players, but Steelers FS Mike Mitchell felt he earned a spot on the NFC squad in 2013 when he was with Carolina. He's aiming higher for his time in Pittsburgh.

Ronald Martinez

Finding ways to feel slighted in some way seems to be a skill among NFL players. Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell isn't immune to taking something fairly benign in nature and turning it into a personal attack.

He told ESPN NFL Nation writer Scott Brown recently he felt at least a twinge of animosity toward not being named to the 2013 NFC Pro Bowl team.

When I asked him recently if he felt he should have made the Pro Bowl in 2013, Mitchell said, "Absolutely."

To whatever degree the Pro Bowl matters, Mitchell also told Brown he'd be more focused on being named to the All Pro team. Certainly high aspirations. He also mentioned how some doubted his true ability because of the dominance of Carolina's front seven. Together, they all made up one of the best defensive units in the NFL.

Cat Scratch Reader editor James Dator spoke with us right after Mitchell signed with the Steelers, and his comments indicated Mitchell brought his own flavor to that defense.

"I don't think (the Panthers will) really miss him because everything is about the front seven on this team," Dator said via email. "He stood out in a sea of mediocrity, but so long as the defensive ends get pressure things will be okay.

"That said, provided he didn't thrive because of that pressure I think he's a guy who will look a lot better on other teams than he did in Carolina."

The front seven in Carolina took the headlines, but Mitchell stood out on his own for his own reasons. Mitchell himself seems to feel that way, and if Dator is right, Pittsburgh will be the perfect place for him. This team hasn't had the combination of strength and speed like Mitchell in a very long time. Ryan Clark was a smart and fearless player, but was never close to as fast as Mitchell is. It's obvious on the field, too.

Before Clark, Chris Hope was a similarly molded player. A bit bigger than Clark, but again, not the athlete Mitchell is.

Clark made a Pro Bowl, Hope never went to one as a Steeler. If Mitchell has aspirations of reaching that level, participating in the revival of the Steelers' sagging takeaways rate while backing up a similarly dominant front seven may do that.

High aims, but perhaps the Steelers could use that moxie.