Cole setting the bar high

Before the ink was even dry on free agent offensive lineman Mason Cole's contract, he had already texted with running back Najee Harris, sharing with the young back what he feels the line should do for him in 2022.

And he set the bar high.

"That is why you play offensive line, to turn around and hand the ball to a guy like that," said Cole. "I was texting him and said we have to get you to 2,000 yards in a season. That is the goal."

It's a lofty goal, with Harris turning in an impressive 1,200-yard season in his rookie year in 2021 and 2,000 yards a high mark in the NFL.

But that is why Cole signed with the Steelers. To be a part of a unit that helps to bring greatness to the City of Pittsburgh.

"I am really excited about this organization and being a part of it, the history and culture of this organization, past, present and future," said Cole. "I want to be a part of bringing this city a Lombardi Trophy.

"Growing up a football fan you know about Pittsburgh, the Steelers, and what it means to play for this team and help them win games. I've always said if you are good at this game, it will be good to you. If you are good to this city, it will be good to you. I am excited to embrace this city, organization, and be a part of this culture, town. Coming here you can feel the culture and history of this organization."

The Steelers offensive line is a younger one overall, with two rookies starting in 2021. Cole is entering his fifth season and is hoping he can be someone to help the young line grow and develop, as well as be a leader they can depend on.

"There is an opportunity here to help this young offensive line get better," said Cole. "I think as you get up in years in the NFL, I am going into Year 5, there comes that point where you have to start being that guy in the room one way or another. If that is what the room needs, the team needs, that is what I am here for, to give that veteran presence. I have been that young guy in the room before. I had one of the veteran leaders mentor me and show me the way. If I can do that to any of these young guys on the team, I think it would be a great honor."

Cole spent his first three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and played for the Minnesota Vikings in 2021. In his four seasons he has played in 60 games, starting 39, working at both the center and guard positions.

Coming to the Steelers he doesn't know yet what he is going to specifically asked to be, stating multiple times he will do whatever is asked by the coaches.

He is also excited for a fresh start working with new offensive line coach Pat Meyer and assistant offensive line coach Isaac Williams.

"That is huge," said Cole of coming into a new situation with a position coach who is also new. "But nothing is ever given in this league. Everything has to be earned. No matter what the situation, you still have to go in and play really well and try to be a leader and help that room be cohesive and play together. A big thing for me is playing together as a group, as a room. It will be huge for this team. That is a big part of my play and what I want to do here."