PITTSBURGH — When he went into free agency, Steelers safety Damontae Kazee did not know if he was going to return to Pittsburgh. While he expressed interest in coming back to the team, Kazee has seen the business side of the NFL a few too many times to just sit back and think his wishes would be answered.
“I hope I come back,” Kazee said in January. “You know, this is a business. I can’t hold my head down, no surfboard shoulders. You balance the good and bad. I can hit the road, and go to another team. But I would like to be here if I can.”
However, they were answered as the team and Kazee agreed to a two-year deal. It could all end up with Kazee as the starting strong safety, or at the very least, a significant contributor. Damontae Kazee played an essential role in the team’s defense after returning from an injury in the second half of the season. Now, that he is back, Kazee is grateful and excited to get to work.
“Nah, I got rid of all my stuff, packed it all up, and got rid of my apartments,” Kazee said. “Business is business, so keep your feelings close to your heart and keep your head up. There were a lot of teams that called, but I like this program over here. There’s a great brotherhood and fantastic coaches. Everybody is close and so this was a great choice to come back.”
Kazee now has the opportunity to potentially start next to Minkah Fitzpatrick. He is not sure quite yet where his role will be moving forward. However, he is impressed by a young secondary that he thinks will aid everyone in the group to get better moving forward.
“It’s too early to tell what my role is just yet,” Kazee said. “But I’ve seen these rookies and guys out here, we’re all close already. This secondary is going to be real good. It’s a brotherhood.”
While everything came full circle for Kazee, he has the versatility to play wherever. Kazee has experience in the slot, free safety, strong safety, dimebacker, and more in his career. A ballhawk at his heart, wherever he plays, Kazee is ready to embrace whatever the coaches have for him.
“I’ve played all over the place,” Kazee said. “It’s not my job to tell you where I’m gonna play, but when I get in there I’ll bust my butt wherever. That’s no matter how many reps I’m going to get.”
With Joey Porter Jr., Cory Trice, Chandon Sullivan, Patrick Peterson, and Keanu Neal all as new players, the secondary has a lot of moving parts after losing Terrell Edmunds and Cam Sutton. But returning players such as Kazee will be important to bridge that gap.