To say the least, newly signed Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Breiden Fehoko is stoked to be in Pittsburgh, and a lot of it has to do with Mike Tomlin and the family-like culture of the organization.
“When I visited (Pittsburgh) to sign my contract, every person that I talked to in that facility didn’t talk to me about football, they talked to me about how they can help me off the field. And that really struck me,” Fehoko said on the Steel Here podcast with Kevin Adams and Barstool Sports personality Jersey Jerry.
Fehoko said he’s all-in on Mike Tomlin, who delivered a striking first impression.
“This is the first words he said to me, ‘Big Dog, I don’t want you to come in here and feel like you got to be Superman and do everything yourself. You need a place to stay, you need to know where to find food, you need a car, you need something, call me. Call my phone. Call Mr. Khan’s phone. You can call anybody’s phone in this building, we will help you. Don’t feel like you got to do this on your own.’
“To me, I love this. You know, I never had this. Not trying to talk down, but I never had where I can just go in and my head coach is like, ‘Big Dog, call me.’ And it don’t even got to be about football. … To me, that hit home and it made me want to play for this man. I told this man, ‘Get me some shoes, I’m ready to workout right now. Let’s go.'”
Fehoko said two or three other teams reached out, but it was all for the minimum. Fehoko ended up signing for the minimum with the Steelers. He felt Pittsburgh was the best fit for his style of play, which is being a nose tackle in a 3-4 defense. Fehoko takes a lot of pride in taking up blockers and doing the “dirty work.”
“I’m Polynesian. I’m thick-boned, I have a thick lower body. I’m not made here to be Aaron Donald. I’m made to sit my big ass in the middle of a defense and make sure everybody else eats. I learned to understand that and grow in that role.”
Fehoko is looking forward to playing with Cam Heyward on the defensive line, a player who he grew up watching in high school and admiring. He also knows Larry Ogunjobi through social media. Fehoko said Ogunjobi texted him, “Crazy how life comes full circle” after he signed with the Steelers.
“A lot of guys that I’ve been fans of (and) have been fond of their game, I’m excited to play with now and being able to compete with them and grind with them everyday,” Fehoko said. “Specifically Cam, when you watch his game, you don’t see a flashy player. You see somebody who is hard-nosed, you see somebody who is rugged. You see somebody who plays the game the right way. I’m a guy that truly feels that football needs to be played a certain way, and you have to respect the game.”
You can listen to the entire Steel Here podcast interview with Fehoko in the clip below.