Myles Jack Relishes New Opportunity in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA – Cam Heyward immediately texted Myles Jack after his release by the Jacksonville Jaguars and openly welcomed the 36th overall selection from the 2016 NFL Draft to join the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Honestly, I got cut that day,” said Jack. “That day, I got cut. Cam (Heyward) texted me and was like, we’d love for you to come to the Steelers. Kind of at that point, I wasn’t really hearing much from my agent. I was just playing Call of Duty and video games. I was like, yeah, that would be great. Hopefully, you guys want me, but I can’t choose that. Then the next day, I got the call, and they were like, we want you. I talked to Coach (Mike) Tomlin and everybody. When you get cut, your like, alright, just let me soak this up. Then Cam happened to text me. That was my first hint I was coming here.”
“We went to the same high school. Either his brother was there when I was there, or I just missed him. He hit me up, and that’s pretty much it.”
Jack was under contract for two more seasons at $22.25 million total. By releasing him, the Jags saved $7.2 million in dead cap over the next two years, possibly giving the Steelers’ defense a considerable boost.
Heyward might have helped the Steelers add one of the next great linebackers via free agency. Kevin Greene, James Farrior, and arguably James Harrison (Baltimore signed him in late 2003, then sent him to the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe before re-signing with Pittsburgh) were all free agents before signing with the Steelers. Arguably some of the best signings in the history of the franchise. Bar none.
Jack has the potential to join a list of some very prominent Steelers. His swagger and ability have resonated amongst his teammates thus far in camp. “Love him,” said Marcus Allen. “Love him, man. He’s a great guy. Well mannered. When we are on that field, we talk good shit. He’s perfect for that linebacker room.”
Jack leaves behind a franchise in Jacksonville that is notorious for being unstable. Like the Florida sand it was built upon, it’s an organization with no foundation. The exodus of high-caliber players is another example of the Jaguars’ dysfunction and possibly why Jack feels so inspired to be in Pittsburgh.
“Awe man, it’s a pleasure coming to work every day,’ said Jack. “Just starting with the organization and how they run things. The head coach and when he speaks, how he sets up the day to get you mentally prepared to get going. Just the whole atmosphere, and it’s something I haven’t really experienced. I feel like a rookie all over again. It’s new. It’s fun. You feel like you have a purpose every day when you come into this building. So, it’s great.”
If teammate Devin Bush can work his way back from an ACL injury and back into one of the league’s best young linebackers, the Steelers could have something special with Jack and outside rushers T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.
“So far, so good,” said Bush. “I think we learn a lot from each other just in the way we read and react. So, we still got some ways to go, but the initial part of it, I think we are off to a really good start because we understand each other conceptionally playing linebacker.”
The cohesiveness is critical to Pittsburgh establishing itself as a premier run defense after getting repeatedly gashed last year. The Steelers gave up the most rushing yards (2,483), the highest average per carry (5.0), and the most carries 20-plus or higher (20). Not statistics Steelers fans are accustomed to seeing when the final totals are tallied. For Pittsburgh to be taken seriously as a playoff contender, that trend must change. Jack and Bush will be crucial in helping resurrect the Steelers’ run defense from being among the bottom dwellers of NFL defenses.
“It’s definitely a big thing,” said Jack. “You can kind of feel the pride. The history is so deep. When you got six Lombardi’s that you are walking past every day going into meetings. That puts everything into perspective. You feel like not only are you playing football for your teammates, but it’s also kind of greater than you. You are playing for the people who played before you in this great city and its fans. It’s a great responsibility, but I like it.”
Jack had the green dot on the back of his helmet during OTA’s and possibly at minicamp, but helmets were covered with a concussion shield.
“They haven’t announced anything but need be, I can do it. I did it today, but if they need me 100%, I can do it. I did it back in Jacksonville,” said Jack. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m all hands on deck.”
Plenty of optimism should follow this unit into the season. On paper, this current group of linebackers looks as good as any other unit in the NFL. Putting it all together and playing like the best unit in the league is another matter.
If you cheer for the Black-and-Gold, here’s to hoping Jack follows the free agent path towards success like Greene, Farrior, and Harrison. Be jacked, Myles is in Pittsburgh.