PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – What the Steelers got from middle linebacker in 2022 is better defined by what they didn’t get. There were no turnovers from that position, none. They also struggled against the pass. Newly signed free agent Cole Holcomb is excited to fix that.
“I got a lot of experience over there (Washington) playing different positions,” Holcomb said Thursday. “I played Mike, Will, Sam. I feel like my position flexibility can help us out on this defense. It allows other players to play to their strengths.”
Injured early last season, looking back to a full 2021 Holcomb had a sack, two interceptions-including a Pick Six, seven passes defended, a pair of forced fumbles and a fumble recovery to go with 142 tackles. He also says he’s been in passing situations where he’s had to cover a slot receiver or pass-catching tight end.
“I’ve been in plenty of positions like that,” Holcomb said. “Playing in Washington there were times I was covering Quez Watkins, covering slot receivers running options routes. I have plenty of experience doing that. Plenty of experience playing man on tight ends. I’ve gone against everything. I’ve seen everything. I’ve been in a mis-match and I know how to handle those situations.”
“I think that is something I can excel at and it doesn’t have to be ‘oh are we worried about this happening’? No, we can live through the down and move on to the next play.”
“I’m confident in my abilities. I know what I’m capable of.”
Coming out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Holcomb was a walk-on at the University of North Carolina. He would end up playing in 43 career games with 327 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles-all his senior year when he also had eight TFL and 104 overall tackles.
“You may not be the biggest or the strongest, but you can always outwork somebody,” Holcomb said. “I kind of took that mentality at UNC. Looked at my competition there and knew I could outwork each and every one of those guys and work my way up the depth chart. I adopted that mentality and took it to the NFL.”
Holcomb had foot surgery this offseason and said he would be ready to go if the team wanted him to go through off-season workouts which are expected to start in early May.
“I feel like I’m progressing really well in my rehab,” Holcomb said. “I will be ready to go. I’ve had a surgery before. I took that mentality and attacked it. I will be ready to go.”
Known for his trademark mullet, will the 26-year-old change that hairstyle joining the Steelers?
“It ain’t going anywhere,” Holcomb said. “I did trim it up a little in the season. It was getting as long as my wife’s hair. It’s definitely become a part of the brand, part of what I am. It’s grown on me. I love it. I wouldn’t cut it for my wedding. I don’t play on cutting it anytime soon.”