"My dad always says, there is a reason for failure, but never an excuse,"
Those words spoken by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell to Steelers.com's Teresa Varley after the team's fourth session of their annual OTAs. Mitchell has definitely taken his father's words to heart. I am not sure about his family life growing up, but I'd venture to guess at some point he was exposed to a Suck-it-up-Buttercup Philosophy (SIUBP).
Throughout Mitchell's tedious 2014 season, including times when he was criticized for disappointing performance on the field, Mitchell resisted the temptation to whine or look for excuses. (In fact, there is no footage of Mitchell bungling a play and then limping off the field screaming "My groin! My groin!")
This is the second time in recent weeks that Mitchell opened up about the groin injury that caused him pain for seventeen weeks, compromised his mobility, and required a surgical procedure that sounded fairly gruesome. ("We had to reattach some things to the bone so there is some scar tissue in there.")
The injury not only impacted his performance on the field, but it prevented him from doing important strength training. "Last year I wasn't even able to back squat," he said. "This year I have been back squatting for the first time in over a year. That is a personal achievement of mine. I am feeling way better than last year and focusing on what I can do this year."
In addition to recovering from his injury, Mitchell is also gaining a better understanding of the playbook, something he revealed was lacking during last year's season. "There were plays I could have made being in better position, having a better understanding of the defense, which I do believe I have now," he admitted. Mitchell outlined those two factors again later in his interview saying, "When I'm healthy and I understand what I am doing, I can be a very good player in this league."
Mitchell is putting down roots in the Pittsburgh area where he recently bought his first house. He said he hopes to retire here and "win a championship here." Steelers fans would love nothing more than for Mitchell to have a large part in the 7th Lombardi trophy coming to the Steel CIty. Nonetheless, for those who judged Mitchell in his first season might want to see what he can put on the field after a year under his belt.