Updated: Jul 9, 2021
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick has been named first-team All-Pro in his two seasons with the Steelers since the Dolphins traded him to Pittsburgh in September of 2019, but Fitzpatrick says there's still plenty of areas where he can improve. Fitzpatrick is a big note-taker and he put down a Tomlinism in his notebook this past week at minicamp.
"I actually wrote down in my notebook today, because Coach T (was talking) about the minutia of the game," Fitzpatrick told former NFL safety and current NBC Sports analyst Rodney Harrison this past week. "The details, the small little things of the game, and I said 'I want to master the minutia.' And I feel like with that comes from mastering the fundamentals of the game. And when you play high level fundamentally whether you're tired or you're beat up, if you have you're fundamentals right, you're going to play well. Whether it be slowing down my pace in the middle of the field so I can get a break sharper, cleaner, get a better angle to the ball. Whether it be not biting on shoulder fakes and stuff like that. But, just mastering those little things is something that I definitely want to work on, cause we all see the big splash plays, but we don't see the little things that lead us to those big splash plays. So, I just want to master those little things."
A few weeks ago during OTAs, Fitzpatrick expressed his gratitude to the Steelers for placing the fifth-year option on him, which really was a no-brainer decision for the organization.
"You definitely appreciate it," Fitzpatrick said. "It guarantees me another year in Pittsburgh. Great city, great team, great organization. It's a blessing. Getting that sigh of relief. You don't have to worry about what if, what if, for another two years. It's definitely a blessing. I am happy it happened. I want to make them proud of their decision."
Fitzpatrick's current contract runs through the 2022 season, but he should receive a contract extension either this offseason or after the 2021 season that will keep him in Pittsburgh for the foreseeable future, along with making him the highest-paid safety in the league.
In March, Broncos free safety Justin Simmons signed a four-year, $61 million contract with $35 million guaranteed that made him the highest-paid safety in the league, averaging $15.25 million per year. Fitzpatrick should surpass Simmons when he gets his mega-deal, however, especially if he's named first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year.