PITTSBURGH — Damontae Kazee was expecting to be the third safety in the Steelers’ big nickel package prior to Saturday night. However, with Minkah Fitzpatrick’s injury, Kazee suddenly became the starting free safety. So, what did the veteran do? He made a statement that he is here to stay in the Steelers’ defensive backfield.
On the day, Kazee registered four tackles, a pass deflection, and his first interception with the team. Then, after the win, Kazee gave an emphatic quote that rang throughout the tunnel.
“Haha, I’m back, motherfuckers,” Kazee screamed.
That might just best sum up Kazee’s attitude toward football. He broke his arm, got nine screws installed into his arm, but came back with a thunderous force. In some ways, Kazee has just the right mindset for football. He is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and he does it with a purpose.
“I was more excited to play man,” Kazee said. “Man, I was ready to go with my brothers out there. It’s been a long time.”
Kazee joked around with Minkah Fitzpatrick a little bit, saying that his performance and the starting job were his thanks to an ‘out of the blue’ injury suffered by Fitzpatrick. But Kazee was ready to go right away despite the injury to Fitzpatrick. The energy on defense was noticeably heightened, so much so that Kazee bluntly said why he was eager to win.
“It’s so I don’t have to wake up feeling depressed tomorrow,” Kazee said. “I can have a great week.”
Being the veteran he is, Kazee was all ready to go in at free safety once he heard the news about Fitzpatrick. He studied some more free safety film, put his head down, and went to work right away. All in all, Kazee ended up with an emphatic statement of a debut thanks to his level of comfort with the defense and the position.
“I believe I have some 40 starts in the NFL, so it was nothing,” Kazee said. “I just stepped up and practiced what was preached. I went to work and Mink was being a great coach on the sidelines. It’s a true brotherhood.”
All in all, it was one strong day from Kazee. Moreover, he got to experience the Pittsburgh crowd for the first time. His interception occurred right after the notorious ‘Renegade’ tradition. That led Damontae Kazee to feel like sometimes, the game he plays is not even real.
“It feels like a dream sometimes,” Kazee said. “Those moments right there are something you cherish. I was so happy. First game back, I got to do some tackling. It’s my first game back from a broken arm. I was alright.”
Kazee will go back to the drawing board to try and replicate the performance next week when Pittsburgh welcomes Cincinnati. It was a strong debut, but with Fitzpatrick likely out longer, Kazee will have to stack those performances.