The Pittsburgh Steelers have been fortunate not to have too many significant injuries on the field in training camp so far. Joe Haden had a bit of a scare but was able to avoid anything major. Sean Davis’ finger injury, described by Head Coach Mike Tomlin as an ‘open wound’, was perhaps the most severe.
That has kept the fourth-year free safety off of the field for most of training camp, which has allowed Kameron Kelly to step in and perform with the first-team defense and put himself in the conversation to make the 53-man roster. He started the Steelers’ first preseason game alongside second-year starter Terrell Edmunds.
But that’s about all for him, or so Davis expects. He told reporters in the middle of last week that while he knew that he was not going to play in the first preseason game, he expected to be back up and running at full pace the following week.
“Slowly starting to progress, get more involved in the practice and things like that now”, he told reporters last week of his injury, via The Fan. “I am planning on getting back full-speed next week”.
That’s good news, because while he is among the more veteran players on the defense now in the starting lineup—more experienced than the likes of T.J. Watt, Devin Bush, Edmunds, Mike Hilton, and in the same group as Javon Hargrave—he is only in his second season at free safety, and in working with Edmunds, so these reps are still important.
When he was asked about when he feels that he needs to get back on the field, he said, “about right now. I had my couple days off, but, you know, it’s no fun on the sideline. As the group’s rolling forward, I want to be along with them, I want to be alongside them, so I can’t let my injuries keep me out of the mix too long. They’re gonna forget about me. I don’t plan on going this week, but next week I plan on being full-go”.
The Steelers did not address the safety position in a meaningful way this offseason, only signing Kelly from the Alliance of American Football as a 2018 former undrafted free agent who has never been on a practice squad, and adding two rookie college free agents in P.J. Locke and Dravon Askew-Henry.
In addition to those moves, they also allowed Nat Berhe’s contract to expire and released Morgan Burnett. Those were the two veterans at the safety position that they had signed in free agency in 2018, after releasing Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden (and then later J.J. Wilcox as well).
In addition to the aforementioned, the safety group also includes Jordan Dangerfield and Marcus Allen, who were the other two safeties on the 53-man roster a year ago among six. Allen was a 2018 fifth-round pick. Dangerfield is a third-year veteran but has been with the Steelers since their inception in 1933.