“I just think he’s a guy who people rally around,” said defensive tackle Cam Heyward of Trubisky, who arrived in free agency in March. “He’s all about team. He’s very bought in. He understands and Coach T says it, he’s carrying our hopes and dreams on every single play.”
Trubisky has said all the right things and done all the right things seemingly from the moment he signed a two-year deal for the chance to replace the retired Ben Roethlisberger. He reached out individually to the returning players on offense and welcomed the skill position players to his home in South Florida during the spring in hopes of building chemistry.
Trubisky began the spring atop the depth chart and despite a push from Mason Rudolph and rookie first-round pick Kenny Pickett — both of whom performed well throughout the offseason program and training camp — Trubisky never provided much reason for Tomlin to switch things up.
Though Tomlin has yet to make it officially official — that’s likely to come on Tuesday as the Steelers begin preparations for next Sunday’s season opener at Cincinnati — Trubisky has acted like the starter from the moment he put pen to paper in mid-March.
The way Trubisky figures it, being a leader sort of comes with the territory when you play one of the most important positions in sports.
“You just want to be that guy day in and day out that guys can look to like, ‘Hey, if I do it the way this guy does it, we’re going to be heading in the right direction,'” Trubisky said.
Heyward, reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, special teams ace Miles Killebrew and second-year running back Najee Harris were also elected captains.
The 24-year-old Harris set a franchise rookie record by running for 1,200 yards in 2021. He quickly earned the respect of his teammates with his work ethic and discipline.
“You know, he’s a guy that leads by example, doesn’t say a lot,” Heyward said of Harris. “But I just think he was destined to be captain. He was a guy that when you looked at our roster, you know, he’s the bell cow. And so we’ve had bell cows that haven’t been captains, but it’s what he does off the field. He’s locked in.”
Trubisky found it telling that Harris flew to Pittsburgh on the day Trubisky officially signed. Harris gave Trubisky a rough sketch of the offense and the team’s goals for 2022 and beyond.
“He was there for me from day one,” Trubisky said. “And to me, those are the little things that people don’t see that leaders do on a day-to-day basis, having those relationships that go deeper and beyond (the surface) with your teammates. And that’s why he is who he is.”
NOTES: The Steelers signed S Andrew Adams, CB Josh Jackson and LB Delontae Scott to the practice squad on Monday. … Pro Bowl WR Diontae Johnson warmed up with his teammates on Monday, but did not participate in most portions of practice. Johnson injured his left shoulder in the preseason finale against Detroit on Aug. 28, though Tomlin said at the time that there’s a chance Johnson could have returned to the game if it was the regular season.
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