Pittsburgh Steelers EDGE Alex Highsmith had 14.5 sacks this year, but one in particular stood out to him: sacking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. A Carolina Panthers fan growing up, Highsmith had it on his mind to sack the quarterback who beat his Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII ever since Brady came out of retirement last offseason.
On Friday, Highsmith sat down with WCNC Sports Director Nick Carboni and talked about how he was really looking forward to going up again Brady and having the chance to sack him.
“I mean I was thinking about it ever since he unretired,” Highsmith said. “I knew that the year prior that we were going to play the NFC South this upcoming season. I saw him unretire and I’m like, ‘I’m going to have a shot.’ But just to play against him and to get a sack on him, you know, is probably one of the coolest moments in my career.”
Before this season, Highsmith never got a chance to go up against Brady as in 2020, the year Highsmith was drafted, Brady moved to Tampa and Pittsburgh did not play them in 2020 or 2021. Given only one game to get the chance to sack him, Highsmith did not miss.
Highsmith led the league in forced fumbles this year and even got to force one on Brady. Although Pittsburgh didn’t recover the fumble, it is a moment that Highsmith will never forget. Not only did it have to feel good to sack and force a fumble on one of the greatest players of all time, but it was also payback for Super Bowl XXXVIII which left Highsmith distraught.
After a great year this past season, Highsmith will have to look to build on his 14.5 sacks. As of right now, Highsmith will have a chance to sack Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers next year when the Packers come to Acrisure Stadium. If Rodgers is still wearing the Green and Yellow of Green Bay next season Highsmith will have a chance to add to his sack list of playing legends.