Melvin Ingram on Health, No. 8 and Not Forgetting Alex Highsmith

Melvin Ingram introduces himself as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers' newest edge rusher, Melvin Ingram, is simply excited about his new opportunity.

Ingram, 32, came to Pittsburgh after signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Steelers just before training camp. The one-year deal was his idea as he prepares to show the league he's ready to bounce back from a knee injury in 2020.

"My body feels great," Ingram said during camp. "Had an injury last year, but that's a part of the game, it's a physical sport. Right now, I'm 100, 200%, so I feel amazing."

Ingram said he chose to shut himself down last season to allow his knee to heal. Now, back to 100%, he's working on sculpting a role in Pittsburgh alongside T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. 

"I felt like the program, the coaches, the team, everybody. It was just a place like I felt I can call home, where I fit in," Ingram said on choosing to sign with the Steelers. "Everything is amazing, right down to the coaches, the culture, the city. Just how they do everything. And they welcomed me with open arms."

That role is yet to be determined. Ingram and the Steelers' coaching staff didn't discuss his playing time during their meeting prior to the signing. 

"We just talked about coming in and work hard. Everything will take care of itself."

That's what he plans to do. 

Ingram will wear No. 8 for the Steelers, honoring the late Kobe Bryant. 

"New place, new start," he said. "The first time I ever played football, my number was 44. Four plus four is eight. And Kobe is one of my favorite athletes, so, Kobe year."

Entering the 10th year of his NFL career, he says he still feels like a 21-year-old and believes he and Watt can become the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. 

"Don't forget about 5-6 either," he said. "He's definitely special."

The Steelers listed Ingram as their second-string right outside linebacker behind Highsmith on their initial depth chart. That doesn't bother him.

"As long as I'm on the field, I'm good," he confirmed. 

Where he'll line up will be determined. How much playing time he sees is also something Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Keith Butler will figure out over the next three weeks. 

For Ingram, his mind remains on the field, as he's simply thankful to be healthy and back in an NFL locker room. One he considers among the best. 

"I always knew it was a great team, but when I came and met everybody, it was amazing," he said.

What's amazing?

"Everything," Ingram continued. "The team, the culture, the coaches, the city - everything. It's amazing here, and I'm just blessed to be a part of it."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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