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By: Allison Koehler
“Shut out the noise” is a popular phrase, especially among athletes who are focused on the tasks at hand — being the best version of themselves and, of course, winning while they’re at it. It became a mantra the Pittsburgh Steelers organization adopted when receivers coach Darryl Drake repeated it on the regular. In August 2019, Drake, 62, was found dead in his Latrobe dorm room after the team’s first day of training camp practice, according to The Athletic.
In his honor, then Steelers receiver Donte Moncrief had black and gold bracelets and apparel with the phrase stamped on them.
A couple of days before Pittsburgh kicked off its 2023 season versus the San Fransisco 49ers, Alex Highsmith sent fans into a brief frenzy by deleting his account on X. He was declining podcast interviews and even his dad, Sam — one of the most famous current Steelers parents — was declining them out of respect for his son.
Historically, deleting social accounts has been a sign that there’s discord between the player and his team, or worse, an injury has occurred. Thankfully it was neither, as Highsmith put the speculation to rest by posting to Instagram: “Shut out the noise. It’s time.”
Well, his master plan is working like a charm. Highsmith made an incredible defensive play in the form of a 30-yard pick-6 versus the Cleveland Browns on Monday, setting the tone on defense, a unit that won the game with its tremendous hustle.
Highsmith added a sack, seven tackles (one for loss), two hits on Deshaun Watson and a forced fumble — a category he co-led the NFL in with five in 2022 (currently, T.J. Watt and Cole Holcomb hold that distinction with two each). Watt also recovered a fumble for a 16-yard score. Ground game aside, Pittsburgh’s D was on fire.
Highsmith, 26, signed a massive four-year, $68 million extension in the offseason and continues to show he’s worth every penny.
Originally posted on Steelers Wire