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Anthony Chickillo looking to add value to New Orleans Saints at linebacker, on special teams

'It's a winning organization. I wanted to be a part of a winning organization'

New Orleans Saints fans didn't know that in games against Pittsburgh in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, during the 2016 preseason or 2018 regular season, they'd had a glimpse of the future.

Neither did then-Steelers linebacker Anthony Chickillo .

But Chickillo does have that bit of familiarity working for him now that he has agreed to terms with the Saints, as well as a familiarity with what he believes the Saints will be asking him to do on defense as a pass rusher.

"In Pittsburgh, I was rushing out of a three-point stance really whenever we ran our nickel package," Chickillo said. "So I got to do it a whole bunch. When we played New Orleans in the preseason, I was rushing out of a three-point stance in the Superdome and when we played in the regular season, I was rushing out of a three-point stance. So I'm sure the coaches saw that I was able to do that."

Chickillo, a sixth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2015 out of Miami, played 65 games (nine starts) with the Steelers. He totaled 7.5 sacks, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 89 tackles.

He also was a key contributor on special teams with 29 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, and is expected to add value to the Saints' special team units.

"Really lucky to have been with Danny Smith, my special team coach the past five years in Pittsburgh," Chickillo said. "Taught me the ins and outs of special teams and I feel like I'm going to be able to take that knowledge that I learned there and bring it to New Orleans."

Chickillo said agreeing to terms with New Orleans was an easy decision, because it takes him from one successful franchise to another.

"It's a winning organization," he said. "I wanted to be a part of a winning organization and I was lucky to be in Pittsburgh the last five years. I feel like I'm coming from a winning culture, so I feel like I'm going to fit in well with the locker room.

"It's going to be different playing in a 4-3 (defense). In Pittsburgh, I got used to a 3-4 but in college, I played with my hand down in a lot of different positions. I think I'll be a good fit for the team."

He didn't need to make an in-person visit to determine where he next wanted to play.

"It feels right," Chickillo said. "It definitely feels right. I feel like I needed a change of scenery, and I'm excited for the future. I can't control what's happened in the past; I'm excited for the future. I'm ready to get down there and get to work."