The Pittsburgh Steelers will play their third preseason game of 2016 Friday night on the road against the New Orleans Saints and during his Wednesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that rookie cornerback Artie Burns might make his NFL debut in that contest.
“Everyone that’s healthy will be available to play,” said Tomlin. “We’ll sort out the amount of playtime as we get closer to game time, but everyone’s that healthy will be participating. We’ve had a lot of guys work their way back in different forms and fashions this week. It was a big day for Artie Burns, got good significant work from him today at practice so hopefully there’s no negative consequences of that work and he can continue to move forward.”
While it’s looking good for Burns to play Friday night, the same can’t be said for last year’s first round draft pick, linebacker Bud Dupree, who has already missed the team’s first two preseason games due to groin injury.
“But some other guys, Bud [Dupree] hadn’t moved back toward readiness, he probably won’t play,” said Tomlin. “Bruce Gradkowski, [Jerald] Hawkins, [Roosevelt] Nix, [Dustin] Vaughan and Cody Wallace are guys that probably won’t, but again, we’ll leave the light on for any healthy man to give those guys an opportunity to continue to state their case in terms of being here and or division of labor within the group.”
Tomlin did not say whether or not linebackers Jarvis Jones or Anthony Chickillo will play Friday night. Jones has missed the first two games while Chickillo missed the game this past Friday with an ankle injury. Tomlin did say, however, that running back Le’Veon Bell might play against the Saints as he considers him one of the team’s healthy players. Bell sat out the first two preseason games.