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Ahkello Witherspoon Enjoyed Time with Steelers, But ‘Prepared to Play Football Anywhere’



The Steelers perhaps only expected to have two key free agents in the secondary halfway through this season. Joe Haden and Terrell Edmunds were always expected to hit the market. So was the young upstart Ahkello Witherspoon, but his play had not shown anything to be excited about. Then, in the last half the season, Witherspoon went on a tear with three interceptions and being the team’s best cornerback by far.

As such, it has led to much speculation on if Witherspoon played himself into an extension with the black and gold. For Witherspoon, who had just been through the process, he is letting things unfold for himself before he makes any hasty decisions about his future.

“I think I enjoyed my time here,” Witherspoon said. “The biggest thing is just kind of letting stuff unfold and not getting caught up in an idea of how I want it to look or how I want it to go. When those opportunities arise and those conversations start happening I’ll be able to have a better understanding of my approach.”

Witherspoon’s experience in free agency was not a pleasant one for him the first go around. He signed with Seattle thinking he may have a golden opportunity, but it was not ultimately a place where he was wanted.  As a result, he is at least looking for a level of comfort heading into the process this time. That can mean playing anywhere, but he wants to feel the sense of being wanted by his team in 2022.

It’s very important just to have the peace that I have in this process because I know that stressing or wondering where you’re going to be, you might not even be there come the start of the season,” Witherspoon said. “That’s my approach in terms of stepping back or putting too much in and pretend that I know everything, because I thought I did last year and I was extremely wrong. For me, just going where you’re wanted is an absolute must. That was Seattle last year and then that changed. I’m very comfortable and prepared to play football anywhere really.”

If there is one thing working in the Steelers’ favor, however, it would be their scheme. It is a scheme and a fit that Witherspoon himself loves. Perhaps Witherspoon is balancing money and fit, or perhaps he wants money, but if the Steelers can pony up enough money, it seems Witherspoon is on board to play for the Steelers beyond just 2021.

“Just the varying defense that we played here, they actually suit my game well because I like to be diverse in my game-play,’ Witherspoon said. “I’m not going to say that you make the same type of plays, but in the traditional Cover-3 system, you’re in a lot of very similar situations. When you’re rolling defenses out game-in, game-out, you’re getting exposed to different plays, making plays at different angles. I think as a competitor and as a corner especially, it’s fun to be a part of a defense that exposes you to those different facets of the game, and challenging yourself and seeing where you can capitalize on other team’s mistakes and their trends based off of what they do for that week based on what you’re going to do for that given play. That type of detail, it’s awesome to be a part of and I’m very excited to see where my game goes just because of this experience.”

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