The Pittsburgh Steelers found themselves short-handed in the secondary last night in a spot that proved to be rather important and resulted in the likes of Artie Burns and rookie Marcus Allen making appearances in the game. It also may have influenced the team from playing more in their base and nickel defenses than they would have liked.
Safety and typical dimebacker Morgan Burnett missed the game against the Los Angeles Chargers due to an injury, but second-year cornerback Cameron Sutton’s absence from the field was less clear. He missed practice and ended up being listed as questionable to play, citing personal reasons. Despite that, he was active on the sideline during the game supporting his teammates.
Sutton, who has been the backup dimebacker to Burnett so far this season, talked with Jacob Klinger earlier about the circumstances of his not dressing for the Steelers’ big primetime game, saying that it was a matter of taking care of an ailing family member.
“Obviously any time something’s going on, not just even your family member or anybody that’s really closely attached to you it’s definitely going to be very emotional and obviously a lot of that is out of your control”, he told the PennLive reporter.
Klinger wrote that he left the city twice during the week, which included him missing Friday’s practice, in order to see to his family member in the hospital. Sutton added that he will continue to make visits. “You just got tend to them and be with them any chance you can and try to find a balance in everything that you do, that it’s not affected toward you in what you do and just move forward from that”.
It goes without saying that he had the full support of his teammates and of Head Coach Mike Tomlin, who has always made it clear to players who their priorities should be, and that there is life outside of football.
Sutton told Klinger that he “got the support of everybody in this locker room and obviously everyone upstairs as well and there was no hesitation on their end”.
In his absence from the field, rookie fifth-round safety Marcus Allen made his NFL debut, seeing time in that dimebacker role over Burns, Brian Allen, and Jordan Dangerfield. It is a role that he otherwise would have played himself.
Sutton also would have been the one to replace Joe Haden for the one snap that he missed following a touchdown. The Chargers converted a two-point attempt with a throw targeting Burns, who came in for Haden, finding Antonio Gates for the play.
It goes without saying that while he was missed on the field, Sutton has our sympathies here and that while we don’t know any of the specifics regarding his family member, we hope for the best in any case.