Tha Sports Junkies 101

Steelers’ Anthony Chickillo Wants To Make Most of His Opportunity

Anthony Chickillo 1027jen via


Second year linebacker from the University of Miami, Anthony Chickillo, has found his place in the Pittsburgh Steelers rotation.

It all started in 1953, when linebacker Nick Chickillo from the University of Miami was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 15th round of the NFL Draft. Exactly 30 years later, Tony Chickillo who was a defensive end from the University of Miami, was drafted in the 5th round of the NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers. Fast forward 32 more years, and the third generation of the Chickillo family made its way into the NFL when linebacker Anthony Chickillo was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 6th round 2015 NFL Draft.

Anthony Chickillo was a standout at the University of Miami. He would come into his freshman year as a backup, but after three games he had found himself already in a starting role. He would go on to play 47 games, and finished his college career with 170 tackles and 15.5 sacks. Chickillo is not only trying to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, he is also following suit in a long list of great Miami linebackers such as Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma, and Denzel Perryman.

With all that has come before him, nothing matters to Chickillo besides finding ways to help the Pittsburgh Steelers win football games. On the final cut day of his rookie season, the Steelers coaching staff decided to leave him off of the 53-man roster and sign him to the practice squad. It was an uphill climb to get where he’s at, but Chickillo has appreciated every second of it.

“I didn’t know I was going to get cut, but they made a business decision and that’s part of it. I’m just happy to be here. I like being here. I want to be here as long as I can. . . There were different things I had to do, just playing in space, dropping in coverage. Those are things I didn’t do in college. I was strictly hand in the dirt, playing more like a defensive tackle then an outside edge rusher. So that was a learning experience for me.”

Coming into this season, Chickillo continued to grind over the off-season and found himself on this years 53-man roster. When the season began, the Steelers were already without Bud Dupree due to injury, and then have temporarily lost Lawrence Timmons and Ryan Shazier due to injuries as well. So to say that the 23-year old’s role was going to be expanded would be an understatement. According to Pro Football Focus, Chickillo found himself in on more than 50% of the defensive snaps, and was given a top-five grade for the team in their matchup against the New York Jets in week five, with a score of 76.8.

Coming off of a game where he recorded his first career sack, Anthony Chickillo will look to continuously improve as his injured teammates stay sidelined. The Pittsburgh Steelers are at home for a big time matchup against the first place New England Patriots. In a game where the Steelers will be without their starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the defense is going to have to step up and force turnovers. There couldn’t be a better time for Anthony Chickillo to make a couple big plays than this week.