Life in the NFL is never easy, especially for a rookie. As a new player you are thrust onto a scene with experienced players, and have massive expectations lumped onto you almost immediately.
In 2015, it was Bud Dupree constantly being pushed to the brink, both physically and mentally, until he snapped and got into a fight with some members of the offensive line. He was ejected from the practice, per Mike Tomlin, but the message he sent was clear. Believe it or not, it acted as a turning point for Dupree.
Fast forward to 2016, and Artie Burns is going through the same growing pains, and the mental torture as well. Burns has been volunteering to go head-to-head with Antonio Brown as much as possible, and he is paying a price, both physically and mentally.
AB beat Burns on 3-4 reps they were matched up, once badly. Talked MAD crap after too. Like, verbally trashed the rookie. Big leagues.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) August 4, 2016
Don't think Brown doesn't realize Burns is the team's prized cornerback. Don't think he doesn't know the Steelers front office asked every defensive back they talked with whether they feel they could cover Antonio Brown. I'm sure Brown already knows Burns' answer from this famed question from the offseason, and he is letting him know about it every chance he gets.
To add insult to the tough first training camp of Burns, he is dealing with some bumps and bruises and has missed some time, he was give Wednesday's practice off.
Fans shouldn't get down on Burns after a rocky start to his first training camp. He is a raw player and is just getting his feet wet. He needs to continue to improve, and as long as he is showing that on the practice field, fans should be happy.
You know, stuff like this:
10 minutes later in one v ones, Artie Burns with an athletic instinctive pick of Landry— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) August 4, 2016
Speaking of injuries, there were no "significant" injuries of note, per Mike Tomlin, after Thursday's practice -- other than the ongoing Lisfranc injury to Senquez Golson. He did mention several players are dealing with "bumps and bruises", but no new injuries, or others of any significance, to report to the media. Good news coming out of Latrobe, PA.
More rookies turning heads
We all know about Javon Hargrave and Sean Davis, but what about the other rookies at camp. Well, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Hargrave's first step is lethal, but it was Tyler Matakevich who was making plays on Thursday. A good sign for the 7th round draft pick out of Temple, who is looking to secure a spot on the team by any means necessary.
Tyler ‘Dirty Red’ Matakevich with a big day. Dropped back for an interception, a few run-game stops. Right place, right time— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 4, 2016
Pouncey is back
With the news surrounding Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Senquez Golson, most have forgotten about Maurkice Pouncey, and him returning from a season-long injury in 2015. Pouncey has looked tremendous, and back to his All-Pro form, so far throughout training camp. Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlined a play where Pouncey did, well, things only Pouncey can do.
Pouncey looks back in all pro form. Just reached McCullers with one hand and then got Timmons w/the other to clear path for Bell in team run— Ray Fittipaldo (@rayfitt1) August 4, 2016
Coach Tomlin Media Coverage
Pictures and Video
Artie Burns working on his footwork pic.twitter.com/DQDrUiqe8p— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 5, 2016
Wonder is this guy knows what is and isn't a catch? (I'm guessing not). pic.twitter.com/16gmp9XNlH— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) August 4, 2016
LB L.J. Fort showing off the arm. pic.twitter.com/0E06GCs8eP— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) August 4, 2016
Snapshots from Day 6 include LB Arthur Moats and WR Antonio Brown getting excited about practice. pic.twitter.com/WIo77wtA95— Mike Prisuta (@DVEMike) August 4, 2016