LATROBE, Pennsylvania — Larry Ogunjobi has not physically received his AFC championship ring that was to members of the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals. Ogunjobi, who tallied a career-high seven sacks for the Bengals last season, said that the ring was mailed to his Florida residence.
Currently a member of the Steelers, the veteran defensive tackle cracked a smile when asked if he is looking forward to facing his former team in Week 1. The Steelers, who finished second behind the Bengals in the AFC North last season, are hoping to spoil what Cincinnati hopes will be a positive start to their conference title defense.
“I’m excited,” Ogunjobi said Wednesday from Steelers’ training camp. “I’m definitely excited.”
The Steelers are surely excited to have Ogunjobi, whose presence should also help fill the void left by Stephon Tuitt’s offseason retirement. With Tuitt out last season, and with other injuries on the defensive line, the Steelers’ defense fell to the bottom of the league in rushing yards allowed.
While he was likely out of their Steelers’ price range at the start of free agency, Ogunjobi’s situation changed after he was unable to pass a physical after he reportedly agreed to a multiyear deal with the Chicago Bears. At that time, Ogunjobi was only two months removed from surgery after sustaining a season-ending foot injury in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Ogunjobi spent the next three months on the open market before joining the Steelers in late June. He acknowledged that he hasn’t spent too much time in Pittsburgh, the city that he will call home for at least the next five months. He said that he is a fan of Latrobe and the scenic atmosphere that exists around Saint Vincent College.
The sixth-year veteran is also enjoying the process of getting to know his teammates, both on and off the field. Ogunjobi joins a defensive front that also includes perennial All-Pro Cam Heyward, fellow former first-round pick Tyson Alualu, and former Baltimore Raven Chris Wormley. In fact, the entire AFC North is represented on the Steelers’ defensive line. The Steelers are the third AFC North team Ogunjobi has played for. He spent his first four seasons in Cleveland before spending last season in Cincinnati.
The Steelers still have several stalwarts on defense in Heyward, T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick. But the unit also has an influx of new talent that includes free agent signees Myles Jack and Levi Wallace.
“They’ve welcomed me in with open arms,” Ogunjobi said of his former opponents turned teammates.
Ogunjobi is in the midst of his second full week of training camp practice. He said that he is open to playing in the preseason but will leave that decision up to his coaches. In the meantime, Ogunjobi will continue to put himself in the best position to be ready when he makes his return to Cincinnati on September 11.
“I’m just staying focused on my rehab, my treatment, all that kind of stuff,” Ogunjobi said. “Staying on top of things so that when it’s game time, I’m ready.”