You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, and the unfortunate reality for Pittsburgh Steelers’ free agent acquisition Morgan Burnett is his first impression resulted in a strained hamstring.
Burnett is a very talented, and versatile, safety, but the one knock on him is his ability to stay healthy. Since his rookie year in 2010, Burnett has played a full 16-game regular season just twice.
Not really a statistic which makes Steelers fans feel great about their newest addition sitting out and watching so early in camp. But on the flip side is the fact it is early. Burnett likely wanted to show his coaches, teammates and fans what he is capable of and possibly over stepped his bounds so early in the process.
Nonetheless, this has taught Burnett the valuable lesson of patience.
“Frustration is not going to speed anything up,” the veteran safety told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “so I just try to get a positive outlook on things and find ways to get better..”
So what does a 9-year veteran do to get better while relegated to spectator status on the sideline?
“You just got to stand and find ways to get reps mentally,” said Burnett. “Of course you want to get out there and fly around as soon as possible, but at the same time you have got to listen to your body and take the right proper steps so you don’t have any setbacks.”
The fact of the matter is the Steelers need Burnett, but his absence from the practice field hasn’t been a huge detriment to the team. In fact, it could actually have the opposite effect. While sitting out practice, rookie Terrell Edmunds has been given the opportunity to showcase his abilities to the coaching staff with the starters, and he has thrived.
Luckily for the Steelers, Burnett returned to practice Friday night for the annual Friday Night Lights practice, and seems to be fully on the mend and ready to get back to work with his teammates.
There is a lot to learn still for the former Green Bay Packers safety.
“Things are the same (as in Green Bay), but it’s just learning the different terminology and learning the different language as far as communication and everything,” Burnett said.
As for getting to know his new teammates, and how they function on the football field, Burnett realizes what that entails. “We are all getting to know and understand each other, and that’s for anybody who’s new here.”
The hope is Burnett’s hamstring setback is in the past and the team can now move forward with the safety depth chart of Sean Davis, Burnett and Edmunds. After Edmunds flashed some serious skill during his time with the starters this past week, fans should view the safety depth chart in a different light heading into Week 1 of the preseason.