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DeMarvin Leal Sends Message to the Doubters

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Pittsburgh Steelers DL DeMarvin Leal

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end DeMarvin Leal is on a mission this season to show that last year was an anomaly. Leal played only 10 snaps in a game after Week 10. He wasn’t dressed at all for four of the team’s final five games.

Leal, who’s rarely active on X, sent a brief message to his doubters on Thursday night by stating, “Keep counting me out.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said at minicamp on Wednesday that Leal’s had an outstanding offseason.

“[Leal] was a little bit more up and down,” Austin said of Leal’s 2023 campaign. “But [he’s] looked outstanding [this offseason].”

DeMarvin Leal attributed last year struggles to poor conditioning and technique, according to an interview at OTAs in May with Christopher Carter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Technique, just working on my technique,” Leal told Carter. “Making sure that I come back in better shape than I did last year and just making sure I’m technically sound. Feel like that’s the biggest thing coming off of this second year. Technique I feel is what was my downfall. So made sure I got with some defensive line coaches. Got together, and just came up with a plan and got to it.”

Austin confirmed at minicamp that Leal is in remarkable shape. He thinks Leal is due to breakout in Year 3.

“Marv looks like he’s in great shape. Really runs through the ball. Really doing some good things. It’ll be a big year for him,” Austin said.

So far, it appears that Leal has responded to Mike Tomlin’s public message that put him on notice.

“There certainly is, but he’s got to be a component of that,” Tomlin said at his season-ending press conference when asked by Alan Saunders of Steelers Now if he still sees a place for Leal in the team’s future plans. “Obviously, we put helmets on guys that we think are best positioned to help us secure victory and he hadn’t been a component of that. And so, he’s got some work to do.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.