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Keeanu Benton Emerging as Leader on Steelers Defense

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new defensive tackle coming up as a leader in his second year in Keeanu Benton.

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Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton
Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton at the team's OTAs, May 21, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Cam Heyward is out of OTAs as he buys time to land a contract extension from the Pittsburgh Steelers. But in the meantime, other guys are stepping up and hoping to earn some keep in the locker room. Keeanu Benton has looked to fill the void of leadership left by Heyward at OTAs, and while Heyward is ever present via text and communication to the locker room, Benton is growing into a new role.

The second-year man out of Wisconsin will have to take that mantle sooner rather than later. And while he is hardly an outspoken player in the locker room or on the field, he leads by example on the practice field. He is now embracing that new role, hoping to show rookies like sixth-round pick Logan Lee what it takes to stay in the league at this rate.

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Keeanu Benton at the team’s OTAs, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“I’m just being myself,” Benton said. “Guys gravitate towards me because of who I am, ask me questions. I don’t mind answering them. I answer ‘em honestly. It’s nice to have a different rookie (Logan Lee) in the class. That’s really the guy who asks the most questions to me. And then just being able to be a different voice in the locker room, breaking down huddles and stuff like that.”