CB Ahkello Witherspoon says he will always show energy and passion on the pitch: ‘I can’t refuse’

It’s hard to be a good cornerback without a bit of swagger. This is the position that demands supreme confidence. The recognition that you will be fight, you will be be on the wrong side of a highlight reel, and it will play on Twitter and SportsCenter for the next three days. It is a given. And whoever plays the role has to have the shortest short-term memory and go out and do the next play. That’s why these guys play with as much energy and passion as any place on the pitch, even at times when it seems inappropriate.

Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon has joined Terrell Owens and Matthew Hatchette on their Getcha Popcorn Ready podcast to talk about how he’s playing the game, even if it irritates his coaches a bit against him.

“For me, I’m crazy on the pitch,” he told the podcast. “I am not present. I am a different person on the pitch. My coaches blamed me for celebrating my 27-3 loss to Kansas City. I’m on the verge of losing it. I flinch looking at the Kansas City bench. I say to myself: ‘Coach, you can say what you want but I am not present’. I can’t even explain it… my passion for the game, he has other plans.’ »

That moment came at the very end of the first half of the Steelers’ Week 16 game against the Chiefs. Trailing 23-0, Witherspoon broke up a third pass in the end zone for Josh Gordon and flexed on the Chiefs crowd afterwards.

On the surface, this seems like a dumb thing to do. Dashboard, Witherspoon. But he pointed out that the same energy had been the catalyst for a comeback just two weeks earlier.

“I can’t refuse. How can you refuse this when it’s the same thing a week earlier that helps bring your team back? I was celebrating a week before that the same way when we were downstairs. My pick is what kind of play stirred the game to force a comeback against the Vikings. How do you know when that energy is going to be that spark?

Trailing 29-7 in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings, Witherspoon intercepted Kirk Cousins, leading to an end zone celebration with several teammates (mostly the young bucks). At the time, something that was criticized but turned out to be a turning point in the game and almost led to the Steelers tying the game.

Shameless confidence is how these guys have to operate, otherwise they’re not going to handle the constant pressures of the position. They must to know they are the man, the best, and they will do the job. Lose your confidence and you will quickly lose your job.

Witherspoon will need that confidence in 2022. He’s expected to be one of the Steelers’ starters from the start and although he’s flashed throughout his career, he’s struggling to find coherence. If he can do that, he will become the team’s No. 1 covering corner, just like he was to finish the 2021 season.

Check out the full conversation below.