The Pittsburgh Steelers were in dire straits earlier in the offseason, having discovered that All-Pro guard David DeCastro would have to go under the knife again due to the same ankle problem that troubled him last season. The Steelers were aiming to have DeCastro lead their young offensive line but that wasn’t to be the case. DeCastro has since been released, leaving a lot to be desired where the offensive line was concerned. However, the team found fortune in veteran lineman Trai Turner, whom they signed to the roster the same day.
Turner has had to deal with injuries of his own and the Los Angeles Chargers released him for that very reason, given his hobbled 2020 campaign. Despite the negatives, the guard has relished the opportunity to join the Steelers, viewing it as a silver lining. A recent guest of Jim Rome on the Jim Rome Show, Turner said he feels blessed to be able to play in the NFL for eight years.
“There’s always a silver lining,” he noted. “Last year was a good bit of adversity for me, but I’ve been blessed to play in the league for 8 years and go to 5 Pro Bowls. I’ve been able to stay primarily healthy, for the most part, and that’s something I pride myself on.”
“It happens, you know, it’s part of the game. I took it in stride, and didn’t go the way I wanted to go, but I’m just glad I had an opportunity to put on tape what I wanted to put on tape,” he remarked.
Of course, there will be concerns about his injury history among fans. It would not be a great look for the Steelers if they end up bringing another guard who can’t put in the minutes. The player, though, says he’s good and healthy. “I feel good, I feel healthy, and just want to stay healthy and do what I do on the field,” he insisted.
The former Chargers’ guard also spoke about his role in a team, stating it feels great to be able to get in space and work with what he has in order to take someone out. He says he takes pride in being able to hit opposing players in space. “Feels great! When you can get out in space, and be able to maneuver, and take somebody out,” he offered. “It feels pretty good. I pride myself on being able to go hit people in space, and not being afraid to hit somebody. That’s really what it’s about. I think that’s the initial start of football, going out there with shoulder pads and helmet and hitting somebody. I’m excited to get the opportunity to do that.”
The Steelers will hope Turner can bring all of that to their running game, which they’re looking to hand to Najee Harris. The offensive line has been rebuilt to give off the appearance of a run-blocking unit under offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
The main thing for Turner is staying healthy. Should he be able to remain on the pitch, he’s very likely to deliver that same nastiness in Pittsburgh. As it stands, the team is nowhere near the favorites for the Super Bowl, with Steelers odds at 40/1. They’re currently 16/1 to win the AFC.
Turner will be handed the opportunity to cement his place as a starter so it will be up to him to decide whether his stint in Pittsburgh is successful or not. Of course, his health will have a huge part to play – there’s no doubting what he could do when fully healthy but there will be questions over the same until he can prove that he can stay on the field.
In any case, he’s indicated that he’s feeling good heading into the upcoming campaign and can’t wait to put the last one behind him.
“I’m feeling like myself,” he told the NFL’s Good Morning Network last week. “I’m excited about the season. I’m ecstatic to get to Pittsburgh and just get to work. I just can’t wait, man. Last season was tough. It was different. It was one of those things where, you know, it was a lot of things that happened that I couldn’t control, but hey, it’s a new year, new beginning with a new team and I’m excited about it.”