Steelers safety Mike Mitchell ready to face old friends in Carolina

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell is going home. Kind of.

Mitchell returns to Carolina on Sunday night when the Steelers face the Panthers. Mitchell spent 2013 with Carolina, putting together the finest season of his career after four erratic years in Oakland. He translated his success into a five-year, $25-million deal with the Steelers, who brought Mitchell in to replace aging Ryan Clark.

Mitchell says he signed with Pittsburgh because he wanted to compete for a championship. The early results have been mixed. The Steelers (1-1) have struggled against the run, though Mitchell says he expects Pittsburgh's numbers to improve as a group filled with new faces gets used to playing together.

While Mitchell is ready to see his old friends in Carolina, he stressed it's a "business" trip.