When Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton met with the media on Wednesday, he was repeatedly asked questions about his experience playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s hardly a surprise, as Sunday afternoon’s game at Heinz Field will be the first time he has faced his former teammates since signing a four-year, $24 million contract with Cincinnati in mid-March.
While Hilton was asked a question or two that he wanted no part of—like whether Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is something of a “diva”—he was relatively forthcoming in terms of most of his answers. Most notably, he was willing to provide insight as to which Steelers players talk the most trash—on both offense and defense.
T.J. Watt Leads the Way
“Oh man, it’s quite a few,” he said about Pittsburgh’s trash talk leaders. “If I say defensively, surprisingly T.J. (Watt) talks a good bit, but he’s one of the guys that definitely backs it up,” said Hilton with a laugh, referring to Pittsburgh’s All-Pro outside linebacker, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last year.
As for the offense, “I would probably say (Chase) Claypool,” added Hilton, pointing to the second-year wide receiver, who was a rookie during the last of Hilton’s five years in Pittsburgh (2016-2020). “He definitely likes to talk, but like I said, he’s just like T.J., he makes a lot of plays for them and he embraces his role.”
Hilton Identified the Top Trash Talkers on the Bengals, Too
As for the best trash talkers on his own team, Hilton wasn’t shy about putting himself near the top of the list. In terms of Cincy’s defenders, he said: “I have to put myself up there. Either me or Germaine Pratt,” he said, referring to the third-year linebacker out of North Carolina State.
Turning to the offensive side of the ball, Hilton highlighted the verbal skills of running back Joe Mixon, who is Cincinnati’s RB1 and leads the team with 196 rushing yards in two games.
But Hilton maintained that he hasn’t had any discussions this week with his former teammates, indicating that he’s pretty much all business at the moment.
“Early in the season and during the offseason we had that discussion,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting feeling but we are going in there to win and we have a job to do.”
That said, he admitted to having no hesitation about providing intelligence about his former teammates, revealing that numerous Bengals have been “coming to pick his brain about certain guys.”
2 Other Former Steelers Play for the Bengals
It’s conceivable that the Steelers will also see two other ex-teammates on Sunday, as former Steelers offensive tackle Fred Johnson is the backup on the right side of Cincy’s offensive line. The Bengals put in a claim for Johnson when the Steelers waived him in mid-October of 2019, and he has since appeared in 18 games (with seven starts) for Cincinnati.
Another former Steeler who could make a cameo on Sunday is safety Sean Davis, who is a member of Cincinnati’s practice squad. Davis signed with the Bengals the day after the Colts terminated his contract on Sept. 14.
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