It apparently was so far off the radar Mike Tomlin would not even entertain the thought.
“I didn’t know that he was in adversity,” the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said Sunday of his former first-round draft pick cornerback Artie Burns.
Over a span of about 14 months between ending in late 2018, Burns went from the Steelers’ No. 1 cornerback to not being able to get off the bench on defense and fighting for a roster spot.
But perhaps Sunday exemplified how far Burns has come back, ever-so-gradually, into the Steelers’ plans.
On the day he was due an $800,000 bonus if he remained on the Steelers’ roster, Burns often was repping with the first-team defense at left cornerback.
That designation was only occurringbecause Haden was given a light day in respect to his veteran status, but it = does not diminish the significance that the Steelers view Burns as their No. 3 outside cornerback at it stands.
“He’s playing solidly,” Tomlin said, “but we are just getting (started) here.”
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Burns has a long way to go to secure a significant role on the Steelers’ 2019 defense, let alone to make the team. It also seems unlikely a scenario exists in which he is with the team beyond this season.
But passing the roster-bonus deadline is a clear sign the Steelers haven’t given up on Burns.