Back in the early 90's there was a movie titled 'What about Bob?' starring Bill Murray as Bob and Richard Dreyfuss as Leo. Bob was an individual who suffered from numerous fears and phobias which made normal everyday functions nearly impossible. Leo was Bob's psychotherapist and the author of a self help book titled 'Baby Steps'. Leo gave Bob a copy of the book in an effort to help Bob overcome his irrational fears, but Bob took the suggestion of the title quite literally. He would waddle around taking little steps, all the while muttering to himself the words "baby steps" over and over again. While I am certain I am not doing the movie justice with my description, the movie is hilarious and I would recommend it to anyone who has yet to see it.
Artie Burns has resembled Bill Murray's character Bob whenever he has had the misfortune of seeing the field lately. He has been paralyzed by his own irrational fears lately to the point he is taking up a roster spot that could be filled by a functioning human being.
It appears Burns would rather hide on the sidelines than jump into the field of battle. This has to be a discouraging development for the Steelers organization, the same franchise that committed a number one pick for his services.
I feel part of Burns’ problems lie in the fact he can't stop living in the past. His past failures are keeping him from moving forward to being the player he once was and the type of player he wants to be. Part of being a successful person, not just athlete, is having a short memory when it comes to your failures, but the ability to quantify your successes. Never get too high or too low. You are never as good as you think you are, or as bad as some will have you believe.
That is especially true for a cornerback, where your successes and failures are out in the open for everyone to see. Accept it, learn from it, and move on. Artie seems incapable of doing that at the moment. A mistake has no value if you don't learn from it.
You know what inevitably happens when you are just trying to keep your head down and not screw up? The ball finds you every time.
Sunday night poor Artie gets thrust into the game for a two point conversation attempt by the Chargers because Joe Haden was almost decapitated by his own teammate, which tragically resulted in a touchdown instead of a interception, which was the last place Artie wanted to be. Sure enough, Rivers knew all too well Burns was in the game, and therefore knew instantly where he was going with the ball.
I imagine Artie looked like that wide eyed player on the onside kick attempt in the Waterboy movie. Please don't throw it in my area, but to no avail. Burns actually managed to get toasted by Antonio Gates, the same Gates who only came back because of all the injuries the Chargers have had at tight end. Gates has had a Hall of Fame career, but at this point he runs more like an linemen than a tight end. Still Artie offered no resistance to speak of. Why play so fearful? The worst that could happen is already happening.
So what happens next for Artie Burns? The Steelers desperately need him to return to some resemblance of the solid, if not spectacular, pro he once was. Everyone in Steelers Nation held our collective breath when Haden took that shot. We all know if Haden goes down, the defense goes right along with him.
That's why many of us were begging the Steelers to pull the trigger and bring in some reinforcements at the trade deadline, but to no avail. So for better or worse, we got what we got. Now what to do with Artie?
Artie Burns, as presently constructed, cannot help this team. He is a body wearing the uniform, and that is about it. Sometimes it just takes one positive play to erase the memory of all the negative ones.
A made free throw so you know the ball can go through the hoop again. Or a broken bat opposite field hit to get you out of a hitless streak. Artie needs a moment, and soon. Time is running out.