(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Melvin Ingram spoke with the media yesterday for the first time since signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Steelers earlier this week, and the three-time Pro Bowler had a lot to share.
"I just felt like the program, the coaches, the team, everybody, it was a place I felt like I could call home, a place I can come in and fit in," Ingram said on why he signed with the Steelers. "Everything was amazing here, down to the coaches, the players, the city, just how they do everything. They welcomed me with open arms."
Ingram also revealed why he chose to wear No. 8. with the Steelers. He is the first Steeler to take advantage of the new rule that allows linebackers to wear a single-digit number. Ingram wore No. 9 in college at South Carolina and donned No. 54 with the Chargers for nine seasons.
"This is a new place for me," Ingram said. "New place, new start. Still the same me though. First time I ever played football, my number was 44 -- 4 plus 4 is 8, and Kobe [Bryant] is one of my favorite athletes. Kobe year."
As far as health, Ingram feels like he's found a fountain of youth. Ingram missed nine games last year due to a knee injury and had no sacks in the seven games that he played in.
"I feel 18," Ingram said. "I'm a kid. I've still got a lot left in me. I love football and my body feels great."Had an injury last year, but that's a part of the game. It's a physical sport. Right now I'm 100, 200 percent healthy. I feel amazing."
The addition of Ingram gives the Steelers a reliable No. 3 outside linebacker, and defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Keith Butler expects Ingram to be heavily used in the rotation along with starters T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith.
“Both of them will probably be in there at the same time because we need to rest T.J. some,” Butler said. “We feel like we have three good players out there and hopefully that helps us with sacks.”
Ingram is also versatile and capable of playing over the middle, which could add a different dimension to the defense.
“You can move them around and do something,” Cameron Heyward said. “I always looked at Melvin’s film and he can be that rover guy where he can penetrate through the B gap and kick guards one-on-one. We will see what coach Buts has cooked up for us.”
Below is a video of Ingram lining up in the B gap and going through Ravens' left guard Bradley Bozeman to sack Lamar Jackson in the 2018 wild-card game.
Ingram also has a lethal spin move that he uses often. This sack on Jackson also came in the Chargers' 2018 wild-card win over the Ravens.