When the Pittsburgh Steelers lost linebacker Ola Adeniyi to the Tennessee Titans in free agency back in March, the transaction went largely unnoticed. But since joining the Titans, Adeniyi has been attracting positive notice, and on Sunday he was very nearly his team’s overtime hero against the Seahawks.
With little more than eight minutes to go in the extra session, Adeniyi sacked Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson for what appeared to be a walk-off safety. As it turns out, officials spotted the ball on the one-yard line and the game continued, though not for much longer.
Seattle punted on the next play and after four carries by Titans All-Pro running back Derrick Henry, placekicker Randy Bullock broke the 30-30 tie with a 36-yard field goal, raising Tennessee’s record to 1-1 and dropping the Seahawks to 1-1.
After the game, Adeniyi gave thanks for his first career sack, which per Pro Football Reference, came in his 34th career game. But Russell Wilson is probably fortunate that the play went for just a 12-yard loss, as you’ll see immediately below:
The Titans Defense Also Features Another Ex-Steelers Linebacker
Of course, the 24-year-old Adeniyi—a former undrafted free agent out of Toledo—isn’t the only former Steeler on Tennessee’s defense. A week before Tennessee inked Adeniyi to a one-year deal, the Titans signed fellow outside linebacker Bud Dupree to a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
Though it’s only two games—and Dupree is still not all-the-way back from the torn ACL he suffered in December 2020 vs. the Ravens—Adeniyi has been the more impactful player thus far. Despite playing only eight special teams snaps in Tennessee’s opener he registered two solo tackles, again per Pro Football Reference.
Then against Seattle, he was credited with a tackle, a sack and a tackle for loss, this as compared with Dupree, who has just two tackles in two games, despite seeing considerably more playing time in both contests. In fact, Adeniyi had just two pass-rush opportunities on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus, this as compared to 27 for Dupree. Yet both finished the game with one pressure.
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The Titans Employ Ex-Steelers Cornerback Breon Borders, Too
Meanwhile, Tennessee’s defense also includes a third former Steeler in cornerback Breon Borders, who is serving in a backup capacity, despite starting five games for the Titans in 2020 and backing that up with an impressive training camp this summer.
Yet right now it’s Adeniyi who is showing out the most for the Titans, with his pass rush skills regularly on display back in training camp, this according to Titans beat reporter Turron Davenport, who covers the team for ESPN NFL Nation.
Adeniyi—who is 6-foot-1 and 248 pounds—entered the NFL with the Steelers in 2018, but spent much of that season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. He was a restricted free agent during this past offseason but the Steelers elected not to tender him, making him an unrestricted free agent.
In college he recorded 118 total tackles and 12.5 sacks in 29 career games, this according to the official website of Toledo Athletics. His best season with the Rockets came in 2017, when he was responsible for 66 tackles, including 20 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks.
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