On being activated off of Reserve/COVID-19 and playing in last night's game:
"It was tough. Obviously, I like to prepare. But, going into Week 11 and having a week to rest and get my legs under me, it wasn't the worst thing in the world. I just tried to take advantage of it. I had some good workouts. I made sure I stayed on top of it. I felt great coming into the game. I actually was just talking to some teammates and they said I need to take some time off more often. It was unfortunate, obviously. I felt weird not being there with my team, but it worked out. It's not going to happen again, hopefully. I definitely like to prepare. I feel like when I have good practices, it usually translates into a good game."
On his sack on the Steelers' final offensive drive:
"For me, I just hugged [OLB] Uchenna [Nwosu] and [OLB] Kyler [Fackrell] because they both had gotten a sack in the fourth quarter. Kyler was the play before. I felt like we kind of all did it together. I feel like, as the edge group, we've been waiting to have a really big impact on games. I think the last couple of games, we've been doing a really good job. To come up at the end like that was awesome. It felt great celebrating that moment with them."
On his feeling at the end of games this year compared to seasons prior:
"It just feels different out there. I feel like we all feel like we're going to pull it out. At the end, we're going to find a way. We've done it multiple times this year. It definitely was a little sketchy when they came back. Our offense driving down and putting it in the way they did, it was just great offense."
On if this season 'feels any different' than years past:
"My third year, when we went 12-4, I missed nine games, so I felt like I kind of was disconnected from that year. I missed out on a lot of those close ones, those awesome ones. For me, this year has a different feeling. There's a lot of confidence. Even when they're coming back, even in that Raiders game when we were up a couple of touchdown and they started coming back. Nobody panics. We just stick with it. We kept fighting. I do feel like it's different."
On last week:
"I had the close contact [trace], but I was testing negative every day. I tested negative all six days in a row, so I wasn't too worried. I was getting the negative tests and I was feeling great. I was taking care of myself. I tried to do the right things regarding that, so I wasn't too worried."
On his prior concussions and how his experience can help CB Asante Samuel Jr.:
"I actually did talk to him. After his first one, I made sure to let him know that it was a real tough time for me. It's important to talk to somebody if you're feeling depressed or feeling down about anything. I reached out to him a couple of weeks ago, when he first got his concussion. It's definitely serious. I hate to see that. There were a lot of nasty hits last night. It makes me cringe watching that stuff. I can watch any injury, but a hit to the head always makes me cringe. I'll definitely talk to him again because having a couple close together like that is a scary thing. It can definitely affect your thought process, your mood and how you're feeling."
On the edge group's recent success:
"I think it's mainly a mindset. I think that [Run Game Coordinator/Outside Linebackers] Coach [Jay] Rodgers has been doing a great job. He came in two weeks ago with this whole new attitude. I was kind of annoyed at first, like, 'What is this guy doing?' But no, it was great. He pushed us to work really hard that week. Unfortunately, I missed last week, but I heard that they had another great week. We really put the emphasis on getting off the ball and being aggressive within the run game, just getting off off people. I feel like we were doing a good job at the point of attack early in the season, but we weren't doing a good job of getting off the blocks and really being effective in the run game. Last week, I think we definitely made a step in the right direction. Then, this past week, to come out with three big sacks at the end was pretty nice."
On if yesterday's game was the edge group's 'best performance of the season':
"It was pretty good. I think I left some things out there. I feel like [Steelers QB] Ben [Roethlisberger] held on to the ball a few times. I got held up on the tackle. Of course, every time I went, he was firing the ball out. Ben's just a true vet. When you play guys like [Vikings QB] Kirk [Cousins] or [Buccaneers QB] Tom [Brady], it's the same thing. It was a fun game. It was just fun to get the win and celebrate with my teammates. I just need to keep improving."
On the performance yesterday by DL Joe Gaziano, Breiden Fehoko and Forrest Merrill:
"It was awesome. I'm really proud of Joe and Breiden. I was joking with Breiden after the game. He doesn't show it, but he was definitely super nervous. He made the first tackle the game and I was like, 'I know you were so hyped.' He was a leader last night. He really did a good job of stepping up and being vocal. Same with Joe and Forrest. Joe really had a great performance. I think he did a great job. Ever since last year when he got here, he's been working his butt off. I think that this position suits him a lot better than the 4-3 end that he was playing last year. He's kind of coming into his own. I'm proud of them. I was kind of nervous going in, missing them — [DL] Linval [Joseph] is an absolute tank, and [DL] Jerry [Tillery] and C.C. [DL Christian Covington] are both great players. I didn't know that we were missing Linval until I showed up. I was like, 'Wait, you're not playing?' It was great to see Joe winning rushes, making great plays in the backfield. It was awesome."
Bolt Up for 2022!
Secure your 2022 Season Ticket Memberships today! Click here to learn more.