Do you remember Sean Davis? It seems that, to no great surprise, mans Pittsburgh Steelers fans have entirely forgotten about him, but that was the byproduct of acquiring an effective, impact safety via in-season trade who slid directly into the starting lineup, took over his role, and did far more with it than he ever did.
That’s no slight to Davis, because in spite of what many fans feel, I do consider him to be a good player and believe he was still growing into the free safety role. But after three years of solid health, even if it meant playing through injury, the bug bit him hard this year, and he ended up being put on the Reserve/Injured List after two games.
The subsequent roster transaction at that time was the acquisition of Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a first-round pick and the swapping of some less significant picks toward the back end of the draft.
The second-year safety has since recorded five interceptions, had a hand in a number of forced fumbles and recoveries, and has scored twice defensively, all the while providing security against the deep ball and showing the ability to play against the run as well with the requisite physicality.
Davis, meanwhile, understands his situation. He is heading into free agency next year. While he is effectively sitting out this season due to injury, he has three years of tape. Somebody is going to sign him, I’m fairly confident of that.
That doesn’t mean he doesn’t still want to play this year. “The team’s looking good, making a playoff push. That’d be clutch if I could come back and add to it”, he said, “but just waiting, still trying to heal up and do all I can. If they call me, I’ll be ready”.
That said, he also told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is still recovering from his torn labrum. “I know I can’t play. I’m progressing, and I would love to play, but I’m not going to put myself in harm’s way”, he said. “I don’t do myself or the team justice only being able to go halfway or being timid”.
Technically speaking, Davis is eligible to be activated from the Reserve/Injured List at any point, because he has already been there for over eight weeks. There don’t appear to be any indications of them beginning that process, and chances are, it won’t happen unless there is an injury in the secondary.
And where would he fit in, anyway? Fitzpatrick is at free safety, Terrell Edmunds at strong. Mike Hilton is their nickel, Cameron Sutton the dime. Even he said when asked where he would fit in, “I’m not sure”, adding that “safety’s what I do”, but regardless of what he might think of himself, it’s not a mystery that they wouldn’t install him into the starting lineup.