I’m sure this comment will go over very well. In the midst of a swirling wind of media and fan speculation (or fan fiction) about the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially being a good landing spot for Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, third-year cornerback Artie Burns wasn’t much concerned about any of it.
Despite the fact that the Cardinals were adamant that they would not trade Peterson, and the cornerback ultimately saying that he is now in it for the long haul with his team, fans were aggressive in their insistence that the Steelers must trade for him in order to have a chance at winning this year.
Obviously, Peterson would hypothetically be starting across from Joe Haden, which would be in Burns’ spot.
Asked for his thoughts about such a trade, Burns told Kevin Gorman, “if they do, they do. I don’t really pay attention to that”. He also said, apparently before that, “I don’t really care. If I get traded, I get traded. I’ll still have a job somewhere else. I’m here to work”.
His remarks are obviously going to be interpreted as coming from a place of disloyalty, a concept that fans of teams have a difficult time grasping, because of course everybody who plays for the team that they like ought to like that team as much as they do.
It is worth reminding, however, that these are remarks coming from a struggling young player currently embattled for his starting position. Moreover, we have just seen the New York Giants trade Eli Apple, drafted ahead of Burns in the same class, to the New Orleans Saints for—let’s say less than a first-round pick.
In other words, he’s probably thinking it’s pretty reasonable that he could get traded. Or at least it would be a likely possibility were he with most other teams. I actually can’t recall the last time that the Steelers traded a meaningful player in-season, though they did recently move some players such as Martavis Bryant, Ross Cockrell, Sammie Coates, and Brad Wing.
It’s pretty unlikely that the Steelers will even be involved in any trades before the deadline early next week, and even less likely that it would involve trading a player away. But I’m sure Burns hears the comments, even if he tries not to.
I’m sure this very article will include just the same kinds of comments he has been receiving all year, or really for his entire career, and as much as some players might try to deny that they read them, notable comments always get back to them in some way, whether from a teammate or friend or family member.
Even the ‘worst-case scenario’ is simply a young 23-year-old athlete who doesn’t necessarily love the situation he’s in. If a team were to trade for him, they would likely envision him as a starter. Meanwhile, Burns’ future in Pittsburgh is already somewhat up in the air, at least beyond 2019.