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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Highlands Alum, Bengal Nuisance Mike Mitchell Tries Out for Bengals

Highlands alum and former Pittsburgh Steeler, Mike Mitchell, tried out for the Bengals on Monday.

A second round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mitchell, who starred collegiately at Ohio University, received only nine starts during his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders. Mitchell finally became a starter during his first season with the Carolina Panthers, recording four interceptions during his first year as a starter in 2013. Mitchell also recorded 72 tackles that season to go with 4.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed.

RELATED: Mike Mitchell Talks About His Time at Highlands 

Mitchell, 30, signed a five year deal before the start of the 2014 season. Paired with strong safety and future Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu, Mitchell helped the Steelers go 11-5 during his first season in Pittsburgh after the Steelers had endured consecutive .500 seasons in 2012 and 2013. Mitchell then played alongside Will Allan following Polamalu's retirement in April of 2015, as Pittsburgh's pass defensed finished 30th in the league that season. Despite the secondary's issues, the Steelers were still able to win 10 games along with a playoff game over the AFC North rival Bengals.

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Mitchell's best year with the Steelers took place in 2016, when it turned in a borderline Pro Bowl season while helping Pittsburgh's secondary finish 16th in the league in pass defense. The Steelers advanced to their first AFC Championship Game in six years after playoff victories over the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs.

After not missing a game during his first three years in Pittsburgh, injuries limited Mitchell to 13 games in 2017. He also suffered a slip in production, as he failed to record an interception while deflecting just two passes last season. Given their salary cap limitations, Pittsburgh elected to release Mitchell, who was going to be due $5 million next season.

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