In spite of the fact that he has clearly and visibly emerged as the team’s number three safety, and is also an active participant on special teams, first-year safety Kameron Kelly is not taking anything for granted during the final days of the preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kelly, originally signed as a college free agent by the Dallas Cowboys, failed to make their roster, and was not re-signed to the practice squad. He ended up signing up for the Alliance of American Football, where he played for the San Diego Fleet, recording four interceptions, three in one game, to finish among the league leaders in eight games.
“I don’t ever want to think I have it on lock”, he told Will Graves of the Associated Press regarding his comfort level in trusting that he has the team made. “I always want to play with that chip on my shoulder because I feel like that chip is what helped me elevate my game. So that chip is going nowhere”.
Thanks in part due to his athleticism, but Steelers coaching staff has been trying to get a long look at him since OTAs. While Sean Davis was missing time back in May, Kelly got the opportunity to run with the firs-team defense.
That has continued throughout the summer. When Davis injured his finger, it was Kelly with the starters. Davis was injured again on Sunday. When he left, Kelly, who was already participating in a three-safety sub-package, moved over to free safety.
The Steelers did not do much else outside of signing Kelly to address the safety position. They signed two as rookie college free agents, P.J. Locke and Dravon Askew-Henry, but neither have done a great deal to distinguish themselves.
Behind starters Davis and Terrell Edmunds, two others return from last season’s roster, those being Jordan Dangerfield and 2018 fifth-round pick Marcus Allen. For the moment, based on current roster construction, they appear to be competing head-to-head for one final roster spot at safety, as there seems to be room only for four just a season after they carried six.
But Kelly isn’t assuming anything, about his security or his future. He already knows how things work. Not only did he fail to make a team last season, he saw an entire league collapse before his feet. But that league did give him the opportunity that he now has before him.
He seems not only likely to be on the 53-man roster when they open the season in Foxboro, but also to have a role on defense. And that will especially be the case if Davis has to miss any time due to the injury that he is currently dealing with, the latest in a string of them that has afforded Kelly the opportunities that he has taken full advantage of.