PITTSBURGH — The Steelers already tenuous offensive line had lots of turnover, but when David DeCastro was released, the entire offensive line was yet again flipped on its head. Still, the Steelers brought in someone with a high pedigree in former Panthers and Chargers offensive lineman Trai Turner.
Turner, who is known for his barroom brawling style of play, seemed to fit exactly what the Steelers and Adrian Klemm were looking for upfront in 2021. When speaking with the media on Sunday, Turner emphasized that it is key to play with a certain edge in the trenches.
“You definitely want to have that edge,” Turner said. “There is nothing wrong with having an edge. I feel like it’s way worse not having it than having it.”
While Turner certainly acknowledges that having an edge is key, he wants to more so square in on his technique. For him, the aggressiveness comes as a byproduct of having sound technique upfront, something that Klemm has echoed.
“I think I bring aggressiveness to the table, but I’m listening to Coach Klemm and all the new techniques he’s teaching us,” Turner said. “I’m basically being a sponge right now. I’m physical naturally, but I’m more worried about the technique. I think the aggressiveness comes after sound technique.”
While Turner did make a mental mistake that he brought to Matt Canada’s attention in Saturday’s practice, Mike Tomlin noted that having someone like Turner, who is a professional, made him a quick study.
“He’s got a good demeanor,” Tomlin said. “He’s a quick study. He’s a professional, he’s been around, but it’s much too early to tell.”
As far as what connected both Turner and the Steelers, it was nothing more than mutual respect. Turner had not been talking to the Steelers much before DeCastro’s situation arose, and the Steelers only knew him from a light pro day viewing and watching him in Carolina.
“Nothing more connected us than a mutual respect and a nod,” Tomlin said. “We had a preseason relationship with those guys annually when he was in Carolina, and so you get an opportunity to get to know the guys, particularly the significant guys. There’s a guy that’s played a lot of ball.”
Turner will likely start for the Steelers at right guard this season, and he will immediately be expected to be a leader as a veteran in the offensive line room.