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Steelers Rookie Leal’s Boxing Training Shows Early in Camp

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Steelers Rookie DL DeMarvin Leal
Steelers Rookie DL DeMarvin Leal. -- ED THOMPSON

UNITY TWP., Pa. — DeMarvin Leal had a good start to Pittsburgh Steelers training camp Wednesday along with fellow rookies Kenny Pickett, George Pickens and Calvin Austin III. Mike Tomlin hadn’t ordered the team into full football pads yet, but Leal looked good during drills and in 11-on-11 team reps.

The Steelers are down two defensive linemen that will be starters this year. Tyson Alualu, who’s on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for a swollen knee that he overworked between minicamp and training camp. The other is Larry Ogunjobi, who Mike Tomlin acknowledged Tuesday and Wednesday that he would be eased into his role with the Steelers as he recovered from offseason foot surgery.

In their absence, more reps in practice on the defensive line went to Chris Wormley, Isaiahh Loudermilk and Leal. But Leal especially made a very good first impression with his work in practice on Wednesday. Leal could be seen getting past Steelers offensive linemen with good hand technique that allowed him to disrupt run plays. The rookie from Texas A&M also looked strong in pass rush reps, even if nobody could actually sack a quarterback.

Part of what Leal said has helped him with those hand techniques was training he undertook over the past month.

“I got into some boxing,” Leal said to Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Yes, boxing. Just trying to get my hand coordination right so I can come in here and do what I need to do. My weight’s down. I had some fat on me and had to knock it off. Other than that, I’m good.”

Leal was already 283 lbs. at the NFL Scouting Combine February. That’s a lighter weight for most interior defensive linemen. But what made him an asset to the Aggies was his explosiveness, agility, and quickness. Leal could burst off the snap to beat offensive lineman and work well in space. He wouldn’t say how much weight he had lost. But he does see the weight loss helps him play his desired style.

“I just want to be violent,” Leal said. “I want to be dominant when I run after the field. I want to run after the ball and get after the other team all practice every single day. That’s how I’ll show who I am while I’m here.”

Steelers Views

By CHRIS CARTER

The Steelers must find both Stephon Tuitt’s replacement as a starter and young assets on the defensive line for the future.

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