It’s unclear how much Artie Burns may have played regardless but the zero defensive snaps he received yesterday afternoon may have been directly related to a tardy appearance for a team walkthrough, according to this tweet by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Steelers cornerback Artie Burns was late to a team activity last week, according to sources, with one source saying that activity was a walkthrough. Burns did not play a defensive snap Sunday against Cleveland despite productive moments in practice.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) October 29, 2018
Coty Sensabaugh started in place of Burns. The two had rotated every other series for the last month but Sensabaugh worked as the Steelers’ starting right cornerback in the win over the Cleveland Browns. However, he left with a left foot injury. Cam Sutton took his place from there to finish out the game. Burns only played on special teams yesterday, taking up his usual spot as one of the team’s jammers on the punt return unit.
As Fowler’s tweet indicates, Burns had a good week of practice by those in attendance. That included at least one interception during the week. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to turn in good practices, whether that’s during training camp or the regular season, into production on gameday.
This reported tardiness is another negative mark on Burns’ 2018 resume. Poor play sent him into a rotation to begin with while Mike Tomlin challenged him to “smile through the adversity.” Clearly, showing up late to a walkthrough is doing anything but and doesn’t feel like a guy fighting for his job.
Burns’ future is very much in doubt, especially beyond this season. There has been speculation the Steelers will try to trade Burns for a late round pick before tomorrow’s 4 PM deadline but it’s hard to imagine there will be any teams interesting in a young, struggling corner with a 5th year option decision coming up in the offseason (that any team will decline).
Assuming he is kept, it’s unknown how the Steelers will use Burns in the future. But it’s looking increasingly clear whatever that future is will be a short one in a Pittsburgh uniform.