It’s fair to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a fair amount of turnover at the outside linebacker position. Of the six players who spent time on the 53-man roster last season from that group, three are now gone, with two of them—six-year starter Bud Dupree and three-year reserve Olasunkanmi Adeniyi—leaving in free agency. Jayrone Elliott has spent time with the team in recent years, and is also currently not on the roster.
While the team has the good fortune of having arguably the best defensive player in the game at outside linebacker in T.J. Watt, they are also counting on second-year Alex Highsmith, a small-school third-rounder, to step up full-time. The only depth right now is veteran journeyman Cassius Marsh, who was acquired late last season.
Despite spending just a matter of weeks with the organization—some of which involved him serving a stint on the Reserve/Covid-19 List—he made enough of an impression to get re-signed, and the feeling was mutual.
He recently spoke to Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about his playing career and his new trading card business, and he was asked why he keeps grinding it out year after year on the margins when he has another business going.
“Because I love the game of football and I’m definitely not done with it”, he said. “I feel when I had my career-best season (5.5 sacks in 2018 with 49ers), then I kind of got put in bad situation after bad situation after that”. He believes he will be a better fit in Pittsburgh.
“I feel like the Steelers have really given me a chance to find a place to succeed”, Marsh said. “I want to continue to give it another shot. I’m not ready to step away from it. I still enjoy the game, it still provides for my family…I’m going to play football until I don’t want to anymore or I can’t find a way to play football, however that comes about. I love the game and I’m just not ready to walk away from it”.
A fourth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, Marsh has started just nine of 92 games over the course of his career with seven different organizations over that course of time, including three alone in 2020.
The 2018 season with the San Francisco 49ers to which he alluded is the year in which he got the most playing time, logging 550 defensive snaps, which is more than a third of his career total. In addition to his 5.5 sacks, he had 14 quarterback hits with 38 tackles, seven for loss, and a fumble recovery. He also has five forced fumbles in his career.
In addition to his pass-rushing abilities, Marsh is noted for his performance on special teams, where he has logged over 1200 snaps over the course of his career. He logged 347 special teams snaps for the Seahawks in 2016 alone.