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The Steelers 'quiet crew'

Posted Feb 9, 2017

The team's tight ends are the quietest group on and off the field.

When you talk to the Steelers’ tight ends, especially trying to get them to talk about themselves, their performance in games, or really anything on the record, there is one thing you quickly notice.

They don’t say much back.

Now, don’t get me wrong. They aren’t rude, they aren’t uncooperative. Quite the opposite, as they are all among the most polite, the most gracious, the most humble guys on the team.

But they are also, to a man, the quietest. It’s not just one of them, not two, but all four tight ends, Jesse James, Ladarius Green, Xavier Grimble and David Johnson, share that same trait.

“For this team, others do the talking for the offense,” said James. “We don’t need to add anything to that. That is the way we are.

“We follow (tight ends coach) James Daniel’s lead in that aspect. It’s just the way he is. We go to work, put our heads down and try to help this team bring back championships.”

It’s nothing new for the tight ends to be a quiet group, as most will remember Heath Miller was the same way. And they aren’t just quiet when the microphones and cameras are in front of them; it’s their personality on and off the field as well.

“We are quiet. I think it’s the thing with tight ends everywhere,” said Johnson. “We are just a laid back group. I don’t know why. All of the tight ends I have been around, we have been laid back, hard workers.

“I think it’s our role in the offense. We have to stay focused, know everything that is going on. I think it’s a part of the focus.”  

It’s a unit that isn’t concerned about individual numbers, aren’t selfish about playing time. They just have one focus, and that is winning.

“They are an unselfish group,” said Daniel, who without a doubt shares that quiet trait his players possess. “The personalities that they have are attractive to us. It reflects the work habits and the kind of people they are. We have had those kinds of guys around here for a long time. A lot of times the consistency you get are guys who are blue collar workers who enjoy doing their job. We have been fortunate to have those guys in the past and we are cultivating that now.

“It suits our comfort level and theirs, and it’s been effective for us. You don’t have to be that way, but it works for us. They are guys who are just concerned about doing their job and being a cognitive part of the team.”

The group is one that drew praise from Coach Mike Tomlin at different times throughout the year, not as individuals, but for their contributions overall, from their blocking to their pass catching and everything in between. And that’s just the way they want it. And, they want to do it quietly.

“What is funny about it is I think it’s position specific. I think certain positions attract certain personalities,” said Grimble. “Every place I have been, receivers have been one way, running backs one way, but usually tight ends are the reserved people.

“We are like jack-of-all-trades. We block, catch some passes, play special teams, and do some dirty work here and there. I feel like underneath it all we are doing a lot. It requires a lot of preparation and studying.”

And as the recorder was shut off, they were all happy, being a tight end doesn’t require a lot of talking.

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