Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has long been good for a one-liner at his press conferences. On Tuesday, he dipped back into his pool of old mantras to talk about a former member of the team.
Earlier this season, the Steelers opted to trade away outside linebacker Melvin Ingram before the league's deadline. Pittsburgh sent the three-time Pro Bowler to the Kansas City Chiefs and received a 2022 sixth-round pick in return.
Now, ahead of a crucial Week 16 meeting between the Steelers and the Chiefs, Tomlin was forced to address the Ingram trade once again. In doing so, the Pittsburgh head coach reminded everyone that he'd rather have "volunteers" on his team, not "hostages."
"Also, to be quite honest with you and blunt, Melvin no longer wanted to be here. And for us, we prefer volunteers as opposed to hostages," Tomlin said, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "And we believe that's a formula that allows us to come together in ways that you can't measure. To do the things we were able to do last week, to smile collectively in the face of adversity and do what's required to get out of the stadium with necessary wins. That's more of a function of us and the things that we value and less about Kansas City, the things that they needed or the prospects of playing them later in the season."
The Chiefs have noticeably benefitted from the addition of Ingram, who's allowed star defensive tackle Chris Jones to move back inside on Kansas City's defensive line. Andy Reid's defense has improved greatly since the trade and now sits atop the AFC standings.
Tomlin's Steelers haven't suffered too much since dealing Ingram. At 7-6-1, Pittsburgh is just a half-game out of the playoffs with three to play.
To get into the postseason, Tomlin and the Steelers will have to square off against their former linebacker this upcoming weekend. Pittsburgh needs a win to stay competitive, but Ingram will surely want to prevent his old team from leaving Kansas City with a victory.
The Chiefs and the Steelers will do battle next Sunday afternoon.