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Steelers All 90: Larry Ogunjobi Sees Steelers as ‘My Team’

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Steelers DL Larry Ogunjobi

Just four years ago, Larry Ogunjobi was public enemy No. 2 in Pittsburgh after knocking down Mason Rudolph from behind following the infamous helmet-hitting incident with Myles Garret and the Cleveland Browns. Nowadays, he is a vital piece of the Steelers’ defense and just re-signed with the team on a huge three-year deal.

After playing the 2021 season in Cincinnati, Ogunjobi decided to take his talents to the Windy City but failed his physical examination with the Bears and evidently did not officially sign with the team. This led him to join the Steelers on a much smaller and cheaper one-year contract in 2022.

Ogunjobi played to or above expectations last season with the Steelers and received a new contract because of it. While the money was definitely a factor, Ogunjobi felt at home with the Steelers.

“I think it just felt right,” said Ogunjobi. “The team really welcomed me with really open arms. The environment was cool. … I just felt like it was the right place and some things just feel right so it was a no-brainer. Obviously, we went back and forth in negotiations but really just sitting down and having a place where you can consistently build and grow was really important to me.”

The Steelers found their groove during the second half of last season as the team went 7-2 in the final nine games. While that sounds nice, the team still missed the playoffs during Ogunjobi’s. Ogunjobi is positive about the situation in Pittsburgh even after the disappointing season. He said that while the team struggled early, the progression that the team made was noticeable by the end of the season.

“I think that’s just the key. When you maximize your role and understand exactly what your role is, then we all win,” said Ogunjobi. “It takes a team. You can be a guy but when you put a bunch of guys together, that is when you start seeing the true difference. I feel like we’re in that progression right now.”

After playing against and now for the Steelers, Ogunjobi has not taken much time to reflect on his experiences in the NFL and said that the reflection will have to wait until retirement. He claimed that he is focused on how he can deliver the “best product” for the Steelers in not only 2023 but years to come.

“I think the biggest thing is being where my feet are at,” said Ogunjobi. “I’ve gotten to the point right now where I’m just really pouring into myself, my team, my craft, and really focus on how I can deliver [the] best product for the Steelers in this season and for seasons to come.”

99 • Larry Ogunjobi, Defensive Tackle, Charlotte
6-foot-3, 305 pounds, 29 years old, 7th Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Ogunjobi to a one-year contract following the 2021 season. Ogunjobi originally signed a three-year, $40.5 million contract with the Chicago Bears following the 2021 season but failed a physical and never joined the team.

Last seasonIn 2022, Ogunjobi started all 16 games that he appeared in for the Steelers. He played a total of 636 defensive snaps while missing two games. His first start came in Week 1 against his former team, the Cincinnati Bengals. In that game, Ogunjobi tallied four tackles and three pressures (three hurries, one quarterback hit).

Ogunjobi recorded his first partial sack as a Steeler in Week 3 against his other former team, the Cleveland Browns. He recorded his first full sack of 2022 in Week 18 against the Browns.

In total, Ogunjobi finished with 48 tackles (25 solo), 1.5 sacks, 23 stops, 19 hurries, and nine quarterback hits.

Steelers DL Larry Ogunjobi

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi (99) defends during an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Pittsburgh, PA. (AP Photo/Matt Durisko)

Career: The Cleveland Browns drafted Ogunjobi with the 65th pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft after he enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Charlotte. As a rookie, Ogunjobi appeared in 14 games and started one of them. He finished his rookie season with 32 total tackles, one sack, and 12 pressures.

Ogunjobi stepped up big time as a second-year player as he played a career-high 930 defensive snaps and started all 16 games in 2018. He recorded a career-high 52 total tackles while adding 5.5 sacks, 36 pressures, and a forced fumble.

In 2019, Ogunjobi maintained his solid play as he recorded nearly an identical season as the year prior, at least stats-wise. He finished the year with 50 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 36 pressures. In his last season in Cleveland, Ogunjobi started 15 games and totaled 46 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 22 pressures, and a forced fumble.

After the season, Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. In his lone season with the Bengals, Ogunjobi started 16 games and finished with a career-high 7 sacks and 40 quarterback pressures.

Year Team GP GS Tackles Sacks Pressures FFs PFF Rating
2017 CLE 14 1 32 1 12 0 78.4
2018 CLE 16 16 52 5.5 36 1 60.6
2019 CLE 15 15 50 5.5 36 0 56.0
2020 CLE 15 15 46 2.5 22 1 53.0
2021 CIN 16 16 49 7 40 0 50.3
2022 PIT 16 16 48 1.5 30 0 61.7

College: Larry Ogunjobi committed to the University of Charlotte but was a redshirt in 2012 due to the team awaiting eligibility to play at the FCS level. In 2013, Ogunjobi dominated for the 49ers in their inaugural season as he started all 11 games and recorded 42 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

As a redshirt sophomore, Ogunjobi started all 11 of the 49ers’ games and improved from his first year. He finished the 2014 season with 48 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks.

In 2015, Charlotte made the jump to Division 1 and joined Conference USA. Ogunjobi also made a jump as he upped his tackle total to 62 while adding 14.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He was named second-team all-Conference USA after the season.

In his final collegiate season, Ogunjobi stayed hot and finished with a career-high 65 total tackles. He also added 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2016.

Ogunjobi finished his career by starting all 46 games that he played in at Charlotte. He led the 49ers in tackles for loss in each of his four seasons and became the first player in school history to be named first-team all-Conference USA.

Year GP GS Tackles TFLs Sacks
2012 0 0 0 0 0
2013 11 11 42 9.5 2.5
2014 11 11 48 11.5 5.0
2015 12 12 62 14.5 2.5
2016 12 12 65 13.5 3.0

Salary cap and future: The Steelers re-signed Larry Ogunjobi to a three-year, $28.75 million contract this offseason. In his first year of the contract, Ogunjobi will cost $4.93 million against the team’s cap space. He will earn $1.4 million in salary while being owed $3.53 million in bonus money in 2023. After this next season, Ogunjobi’s cap hit goes up exponentially.

Ogunjobi will earn $13.28 million in 2024 and $10.53 million in 2025. He will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2025 season.

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