On June 22, 2022, the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the signing of former Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi to a one-year contract.
Ogunjobi, 28, played for the Bengals in 2021, starting 16 games and recording 49 tackles before suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury in his right foot during his team’s Wild Card victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in mid-January.
If not for the injury, he would have realized a huge payday in free agency, as he produced seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits last season. Ogunjobi did in fact ink a three-year, $40 million contract with the Chicago Bears in mid-March, but a failed physical negated the deal, returning him to the free agent pool, where the Steelers snapped him up for a yet-to-be-disclosed amount.
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On Wednesday, former Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster — now a sports talk radio host in Nashville — appeared on DK Sports’ Ramon Foster Steelers Show and revealed what fans can expect from the team’s latest free agent acquisition.
Not only did Foster play against Ogunjobi on a number of different occasions, he was on the field for the now infamous Nov. 2019 incident in which Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett hit Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph over the head with his own helmet. You may recall that Ogunjobi was the Browns player who came in late and knocked Rudolph down from behind, after Garrett clobbered the Steelers quarterback.
“I know he had that one situation with Mason,” Foster told Dejan Kovacevic of DK Sports, “but even after that point he apologized for it and just kinda moved forward with his career.”
What Does Larry Ogunjobi Bring to the Steelers Defense?
As for what Ogunjobi adds to the mix in Pittsburgh, Foster said the former third-round pick is equally adept at defending the run and getting after the quarterback.
“He was a headache to deal with; I give him that respect right there,” Foster said, before adding: He’s “very shifty, good side-to-side (and) has real good hips,” seeming certain that Ogunjobi will be a very good fit in Pittsburgh’s defensive system. Never mind the fact that he’s already familiar with the other teams in the AFC North.
Foster said he planned to reach out to Ogunjobi to welcome him to Pittsburgh.
“I have always liked him, I respected him, and he would tell you the exact same thing about me,” offered Foster. “Anytime the game was over I found him (and) shook his hand because that’s what the respect factor was,” having noted that you “couldn’t take a play off” when going against him.
“I was most nervous when I had one-on-ones with him and knew I had no help from the left or the right because he was just that shifty to where if he didn’t get a sack, he was at least getting some pressure,” concluded Foster.
Ogunjobi Played Alongside Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith in College
The signing also reunites Ogunjobi with Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith, as both played for the Charlotte 49ers in 2016.
As noted by Steelers.com, Ogunjobi appeared in 46 games for Charlotte between 2012-16. He finished his 49ers career with 217 tackles (127 solo), 49 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, six passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Cleveland selected him No. 65 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft and he played for the Browns for four seasons before signing a one-year, $6.2 million contract with the Bengals for 2021, as per Sportrac.com.
All told, Ogunjobi has played in 76 career games (with 63 starts). He has been credited with 229 total tackles (137 solo), including 21.5 sacks, 41 tackles for loss, 53 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, as per Pro Football Reference.
“I feel a whole lot better now than I did when (Stephon) Tuitt retired because you have another known guy,” said Foster before signing off with Kovacevic.
“Now (the Steelers) have options,” he concluded, having added to a defensive line unit led by All-Pro Cameron Heyward, one that also features Tyson Alualu, Chris Wormley, Montravius Adams, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Henry Mondeaux and rookie third-round pick DeMarvin Leal, not to mention twin brothers Carlos & Khalil Davis.
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