David Borne | Sports Editor
August 22, 2019
When Duquesne football fans tune in to an upcoming Pittsburgh Steelers preseason game, they will probably recognize a familiar face on the defensive side of the field.
Former Dukes standout linebacker, Christian Kuntz, signed with the Steelers earlier this month and is battling for a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. The linebacker made his preseason debut on Aug. 17 in Pittsburgh’s 17-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I like telling people I’m from Duquesne,” Kuntz told reporters following the win. “They’re like ‘what the heck is that? They see me wearing the shirt and they don’t know how to pronounce it, so I just say it’s in Pittsburgh. It’s kind of cool.”
In his four seasons on the Bluff, Kuntz established himself as one of the best defensive players in program history. The linebacker is one of two Duquesne products to earn All-American honors three times, and was named NEC Defensive Player of the year in 2015 and 2016.
He also holds the school record for most career sacks (30.5), and ranks fourth in NCAA FCS history with 71.5 tackles for loss.
Since he began his professional career, the 25-year-old has spent time with both the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
With both teams, he has primarily worked as a long snapper, but has taken reps on both sides of the ball with the Steelers.
Kuntz, a Pittsburgh-area native and graduate of Chartiers Valley High School, grew up a Steelers fan. He has attended a number of games at Heinz Field as a fan and idolized former Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel.
Now, he dons the same No. 99 on the back of his jersey that Keisel wore for 12 seasons with the Steelers. The former-Steeler even took to Twitter to send Kuntz his regards, and wished him luck in the upcoming season.
“Rooting for you Christian! @GoDuquesne 99,” said Keisel on his Twitter account.
Though the former Duke only saw a handful of snaps toward the end of his first game with the Steelers, he will have two more games to impress before the preseason concludes.
The Steelers will travel to face the Tennessee Titans on Aug. 25, before taking on the Carolina Panthers on Aug. 29.
It’s unclear whether Kuntz will latch on with the Steelers as a linebacker, a long snapper, or even at all. For now, he just wants to put in the necessary effort to get a shot.
“Just work hard,” he said. “It’s kind of instilled in us. It’s a Pittsburgh thing.”