Butler On Golson: ‘If He Can’t Stay On The Field, We Can’t Keep Him’


While the Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be on track to get several injured players back to full health prior to their second preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, a few others don’t seem to be making the necessary progress for that to happen.

While Sunday reports indicate that Alejandro Villanueva, Justin Hunter, Artie Burns, James Conner, Cameron Sutton, Sean Davis, and Bud Dupree were all back in pads for the team’s practice, a few other players such as Landry Jones, Maurkice Pouncey, Ryan Shazier, Senquez Golson, Mike Mitchell, Demarcus Ayers, Keion Adams, Anthony Chickillo and Sammie Coates all remained sidelined. After Sunday’s practice ended, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he was pleased to get several of his injured players back practicing again in some capacity.

“It’s just a part of the process,” Tomlin said. “Hopefully, we get more back as we continue. Their availability is a big part of their individual growth and our collective growth.”

As just mentioned, Golson, the team’s third-year cornerback and former second-round draft pick, remains sidelined with a hamstring injury and reports last week indicated that he’s not likely to be close to resuming practice. Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler mentioned Golson on Sunday and how he’s running out of time to show he’s worth keeping a third year.

“Senquez was doing pretty good until he got hurt,” Butler said, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “If he continues to do this… There is a pattern there. If you get hurt and can’t remain on the field you can’t play in the NFL. That’s the plain fact of the matter.”


Butler wasn’t done, however.

“The economics tells us if they’re not on the field playing you can’t pay them and keep them, Butler said after referencing what happened with former Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley several years ago. “The same goes for Senquez. If he can’t stay on the field we can’t keep him. That’s just the fact of the matter. That’s not threat or anything like that. That’s just the fact of the matter. It’s just the way it is for all of them.”

Those strong words from Butler aren’t very surprising and especially when you consider that Golson has failed to make it through a complete padded training camp practice since he was drafted in 2015. With he and Sutton both missing a ton of training camp practice so far this year, it’s given first-year cornerback Mike Hilton a great opportunity to make the 53-man roster.

“We have to get those guys back and see what we can do in camp in terms of the coverages we plan on playing,” Butler said per Fittipaldo. “I don’t know what we can do. I don’t know about Cam Sutton. I don’t know about him. I don’t know about Senquez Golson. I have an idea of Mike [Hilton]. He’s playing well for us.”

Hilton not only has been a camp phenom so far this year, he also had a great showing in the team’s Friday night preseason opener against the New York Giants. A Mississippi product like Golson, Hilton was all over the field and the stat sheet in that contest as he recorded four total tackles, a sack and recovered a fumble. A few of those tackles came on special teams with another coming on a fourth and short run.

After Sunday’s training camp practice, Tomlin was asked specially about Hilton once again and if he’s now a guy he tries to get more reps against higher quality players moving forward.

“It always has a way of sorting itself out,” Tomlin started. “The natural attrition associated with this process sorts those things out. They’re have been a lot of examples of guys getting opportunities to get reps in more experienced groups, if you will.”

  • WARisHELL

    Man if he gets cut, goes to another team and plays really well, I’ll be extremely frustrated.

  • Rob H

    Gotta love Keith Butler’s tendency to just tell it like it is, and not use a lot of coach speak. He’ll be diplomatic and secretive when it’s necessary, but otherwise just tries to answer the questions.

  • falconsaftey43

    Nothing we didn’t know. At this point, I’d be shocked if he’s on the Steelers 53.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Cold, but it’s fair.

  • hdogg48

    It’s a very simple equation…football is a tough guy’s game.

    If by your 3rd year you can’t even make it through ONE
    padded practice, that doesn’t bode well to define you
    as a tough guy.

    We need ballers…not snowflakes.

  • hdogg48

    Yeah and if I were a teenager growing up in Liverpool
    England in the 1950s and I could sing, play guitar
    and write great songs then I could have been in
    the Beatles.

    See how project and spin works?

  • WreckIess

    It’s an obvious statement and something that’s been said a lot, but damn it sounds way harsher coming from a coach. Even if Golson gets healthy he may still get cut, but at this point he’s playing for his career. If we cut him before he gets an opportunity to play, I just can’t see a team grabbing him. 3 years in the NFL and not even a preseason snap to watch from him? Why would any team waste the roster spot?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I can see a lot of teams picking him up just to try him out. It’ll be cheap too! If it works out, that’s gravy. If not, they’ll cut him.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’d say Golson is done if he can’t play Sunday; Sutton will have a longer leash but Butler’s comments are for the players as mush as it is for the fans. Rough business but no sense candy coating it.

  • WreckIess

    I can’t. No tape. No pedigree to rely on. Just some college tape from the 2014 season. The only thing that anyone knows about Golson right now is that he can’t stay healthy so why cut a proven player for a mystery?

  • hdogg48

    So far he’s shown himself to be 2% gravy…98% crumbs.

  • WreckIess

    Agreed. As long as Sutton stays healthy. He’s pretty much a lock for the 53.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Shid, I can’t argue. You would think someone would kick the tires on him, but I can definitely see your side of it also.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Harsh… 🤷

  • ATL96STEELER

    I get your point, but he’s had more than enough opportunities…at some point you have to cut ties and move on…Hilton is taking advantage of his opportunities by being available to the team…Golson hasn’t.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yeah, you also could have been Pete Best.

    See how not being clever or Ringo works?

  • ATL96STEELER

    The writing has been on the wall since LY…the best that Golson can do for himself is play in one or two preseason games so another team has SOMETHING on him that he might be able to latch on.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Did Coach Buts just throw a bit of shade at Cam Sutton???!

    Oh, man… if we were to cut Cam Sutton, some heads around here would explode!

  • WARisHELL

    That’s just it. He hasn’t had opportunities. Getting injured isn’t his fault. That’s what makes this all so frustrating.

  • WARisHELL

    Yes because your comment is completely logical and not ridiculous at all.

  • Nathanael Dory

    Its frustrating but i guess its better than moving up in the second round to get a kicker and than release him one year later..

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Man that really sucked!

  • ATL96STEELER

    Part of that is true…it’s not his fault he’s been injured so often, but as a football player or any athlete, you are as good as your body allows you to be. The opportunities have certainly been there…his body simply won’t allow him to take advantage of the chances he’s had.

  • Robert E Lil

    He’s not close to making this team
    He won’t be picked up by any other team
    His presence is nothing more than a distraction giving false hope to fans

  • Jaybird

    Upvote for a Beatles reference.

  • Jaybird

    If Sutton can’t get healthy, then at least they could possible IR him like Dupree last year. And if he is going to be hurt all preseason then what would the odds be that another team picks up a banged up corner who hasn’t shown anything in camp ?

  • SteelersDepot

    They arent going to cut him.

  • hdogg48

    At least Pete Best played a few gigs.

    And the early Beatles hits had the great
    studio session player Bernard Purdee
    on drums.

    I met him once at a friend of mine’s sound
    studio in NJ.

  • Jaybird

    That’s not the worst pick ever (but it is up there) . But I do think trading up into the second round in a very talented rich draft for a frigging kicker is one of the stupidest moves ever.

  • hdogg48

    He gives new meaning to the term “damaged goods.”

  • Hec

    Don’t worry, you won’t be frustrated. Because, if he can’t even make it through training camp what would make you think he’ll make it to another team?

  • Timothy Karwowski

    I hope golson plans on sitting during the national anthem for this obvious oppression

  • GravityWon

    Totally agree….some guys like Timmons showed up every day. Others are fragile so it’s time to cut our losses.

  • Hec

    Cameron Sutton is back in pads….don’t sweat it….lol We’re gonna see em play some football next week.

  • Reginald Pippin

    Golson and Sutton need to get a hold of that stuff Mr.Miyagi put on Daniel in Karate Kid so they can get on the field because Coach Butler is not effing around.

  • Bradshaw

    I’ve been a big support of Golson and have really hoped to see him play. Injury issues aside, I wonder if he has any real interest in playing. These semi-threats from key individuals in the organization, seem smell of a motivational issue. Nobody, that I recall, ever had to say anything like this about Sean Spence.

    I think Golson is gone and suspect he is likely 100% OK with that. My suspicion is that he is waiting to be released from his contractual obligation with the Steelers so he can play baseball.

  • Steeler Nation!

    Yeah and talent wise Hilton apparently was a poor mans version of Golson at Ole Miss. Golson made a heckuva lot of big plays in the toughest conference. But, Hilton may have been the hungrier of the 2, and is playing like his a$$ is on fire. He’s a keeper.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Exactly – Sutton has some time on his side but Golson’s repetitive injuries are definitely wearing thin on the coaching staff. It may not be his fault, it’s just reality.

  • Joseph Shaw

    Shot over bow completed.

  • Steve Johnson

    Why? It’s not like Steelers have given him every opportunity to excel.

  • Steve Johnson

    No, he has had opportunities, the could have cut ties with him last year.

  • Steve Johnson

    Another player that is consistently injured is Mike Mitchell and Shazier.

  • walter

    Golson preferred to spend his free time investing his time and money in a wild night club and it looks like thats what he will have.

  • Steve Johnson

    Yep, really like that about him.

  • walter

    I know most people want to say its not his fault, he has bad luck, injuries happen etc. and its probably true.

    But does anyone know of his off season regimen? Couldnt he have duplicated running kickoffs in practice? I wonder what kind of off season training he participated in? or was this the first time he actually ran the length of the field since his foot injury?

  • walter

    But he did it in college. What has changed?

  • landan woodard

    Lack of work and maintaining proper flexibility. Ole Miss gave us Hilton to make things right. Let’s move on now.

  • walter

    thats a good theory.

  • RickM

    Don’t really get all the angst and accusations. He’s a star-crossed kid whose body has done him in three straight years and ruined his NFL dream. It’s not his fault and it’s certainly not intentional.

    The pretty significant hamstring injury on July 30th won’t allow him back in time to compete. The Steelers will then decide if they want to retain him on the PS, because no other team will reserve a roster spot for him. Whatever decision is made, I hope he can finally get healthy and have a shot to compete somewhere.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    bam.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    sutton is going to be fine no matter what hes a draft pick from this year. and a thumpin good un too.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    hes gauranteed anyways.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    2%?
    more like .02%

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Mitchell has started all 48 regular season games he has been in Pittsburgh. Shazier played in 34 of 48 games during the same period. Mitchell has played through his hurts. Shazier had more serious injury.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh, yeah, I don’t think so either, obviously. But out of the above quoted material, most people would naturally be funneled into the Golson comments. I already pretty much know the dilly with Golson, so I find it much more interesting to listen to potential scuttlebutt regarding someone like Cam S.

    It must be said though, that Mike Hilton and Coty Sensabaugh DO make it a bit closer to the razor than someone like Sutton would hope. I mean, he needs to be very happy that Brian Allen isn’t balling out right now. If he were, that would make Burns, Cockrell, Gay, Sensabaugh, Hilton, and Allen. Surely Golson is already sort of on the extreme outside looking in. But how many CB’s can we keep?

    Hilton is increasingly looking like he has a real shot. And we generally don’t cut guys we just signed to a 2-year deal like Coty. So with Sutton, he’s suddenly on the razor’s edge. Yes, we’ll keep him. And yes, an outright cut is almost impossible. But the numbers aren’t at the point where he has locked down the 4th spot after Burns, Cockrell, and Gay, and everyone else is racing to catch him. By sheer draft capital and potential, he’s not going anywhere, most likely, but Coty and Hilton playing well has been interesting. And if Allen were too… whew… things would be crazy close. Of course we can shove him on the PS. But many people were finding ways right after the draft, to immediately install Sutton not only on the 53… but as a STARTER.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Yeah, Pete will always be the answer to a fun trivia question for the newest generation. It is pretty interesting when you go back and read the in’s and out’s that ultimately led to him being replaced. I always find that stuff fascinating. Especially when a band goes on to being YUGE.

    The way Pink Floyd treated and moved on from Syd Barrett comes to mind. Among other examples in history.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Ooh, that would be rough. I haven’t heard Sutton should be “man down” for the remainder of the pre-season, so as long as he doesn’t come back and immediately go down, I think he’ll be okay. But attempting to stash him and cover him all over with dung, would be risky and well, stinky. Often, and erroneously so, other teams become a tad infatuated with draft expenditure, and see more out of a guy drafted in the 3rd rather than the 7th. When as we all know, draft expenditure means next to nothing.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Mitchell is a warrior. But there is no doubt he’s pretty well consistently “nicked.” I always feel the worst for guys like that. The strong, silent, play through it – types. Never know how great they could be without the constant nags.

    (I can’t believe I just called Mike Mitchell “silent.” Lol! )

  • walter

    Well he should at least get a participation trophy

  • walter

    who did that?

    ADDED” I found it Tampa Bay

  • 2winz

    its not the coaches fault he cant stay healthy either. why pay a guy who does nothing for your team? idc how talented he is, he has been no more valuable than a player who is always suspended.

  • Shane Mitchell

    The most interesting part of the Butler interview was him talking about playing 2 man coverage not Golson or Sutton injuries. I said months ago before the draft that we couldnt do it last year very much because they didnt trust the safeties, specifically Sean Davis and he all but confirmed it in this article.

    Everyone thinks its all about the CBs to play man coverage, its not people, cant do it without safeties that can make reads and have great instincts for the game and our safeties are lacking in both departments, Mike Mitchell’s instincts are average at best for a starting FS and Sean Davis well his are practically non existent at this point.

    We need to be able to play 2 man coverage along cover-2 zone and its not so much about the CBs its about the safeties.

    When you look at who we have in our secondary we dont lack athletes but we sure in the hell lack players with great instincts at outside CB and Safety, WIll Gay has good instincts in the slot, Mike Mitchell? his instincts and reads are average at best at FS, thats why he doesnt have many INTs and his angles always seem a bit off, because he is late reading plays.

    I dont care what Keith Butler says, cutting Golson because he pulled his hamstring would be beyond dumb and the reason I am pulling hard for the guy to make the team is because we are lacking players in the secondary that can make plays. I dont know how many of you studied Golson’s college gamefilms or saw him play much but what jumps out to me on film are his football instincts, how quick he makes reads and finds the ball when it is in the air. Thats what made him a great player in college, he has rare natural instincts for the game, I have little doubt he will be a good CB in the NFL. If they have to wait another 3 weeks to get him on the field big deal. Its not like they have many other options, Golson can have an impact this year in the secondary.

    if they cut Golson they will be making a mistake, we have a lot of good athletes on the defense, what we lack are playmakers in the secondary.

  • T3xassteelers

    The Bucs lol

  • Pghomer

    You can make the CB #s work including S Golson…if you want to. I can see keeping 7 CB and 4 OLB. Allen as ST player this year and time to grow. 1-AB 2-RC 3-WG 4-CS 5-CS 6-Hilton/Golson 7-Allen. I understand if he’s cut….but he has a chance to be a playmaker…and we don’t have many of those in the secondary.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Nothing, injuries are part of the game, the only reason so many are making such a big deal about it is the timing and they havent seen him play yet. The shoulder injury his rookie season wasnt season ending he could have returned and played the Steelers are the ones that made it season ending putting him on IR early to save a roster spot.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Except teams don’t cut 2nd round draft picks of their rookie year because they get injured….ever.

  • Shane Mitchell

    He has put on at least 10-15 pounds of solid muscle, look at pics of him now versus college, he looks like he could play safety.

    First time he has run the length of the field? are you serious? He is a pro athlete he trains every day

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    There is a difference between pain and injury. Broken shoulder and torn hammy are injuries. I doubt very much he is a snowflake

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    With his pedigree from the SEC and his draft status, he gets picked up…my guess, Baltimore or New England. Tennessee or Arizona are potential landing places also.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    They won’t cut a 3rd rounder for getting hurt…this year.

  • Shane Mitchell

    The Ravens would be all over him and he would be in their starting lineup rather quickly.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    I just can’t believe he hasn’t been able to make it through one padded preseason practice… It’s unheard of. Logically, I tell myself this must be a case of extremely bad luck (especially given his flawless college injury history), and he has 2nd round talent, so we should wait it out and see what he can bring to the table… But then again, he’s been on the roster for over 2 years and we haven’t even seen him in a preseason game! I just don’t know. He’s probably gone.

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Mine included

  • SteelersGeek4Lyfe

    Is Golson practice squad eligible?

  • nutty32

    But otoh, I’ve made as many plays as Golsen for the Steelers.

  • Shane Mitchell

    yeah and about as many as the guys that werent injured and played.

  • Shane Mitchell

    I put Golson’s odds of making the roster at 50/50 about the same as Keith Butler keeping his job as DC past this season.

  • John

    Butler noted the money factors in also. They don’t want to pay second round money again to someone that is hurt. Especially when they can keep a corner that is a walk-on FA for cheap.

  • Rob H

    LMAO, not almost impossible he’d be cut, completely impossible.
    Even if he hadn’t returned to practice yesterday, and his injury would have continued to linger for a long period, the worst that would have happened is for him to be IR’d with a designation to return.
    Let’s not get silly.

  • WreckIess

    Like I said, that was three years ago. Nothing, but injuries since then. Maybe the practice squad, but I’m not even sure about that.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m not sure what you’ve seen to make that comment, but I would expect him to clear waivers so if the Ravens wanted him I think he would be available.

    I wish him well, but I don’t expect it to be in a Steelers uniform.

  • Doug McFee

    Very disappointed and frustrated on the Golston situation. Dude is as good as gone.

  • John Pennington

    Green taught the steelers a lesson about paying a player who cant practice or play.Cant keep throwing good money away and get nothing in return.Time to look for Mike Mitchell replacement Chick backup to Shazier and a center to backup Pouncy it wouldn’t hurt to get ahead of this before its to late.

  • ryan72384

    Sounds like Golson is done. I’m really disappointed that we haven’t really got to see Sutton yet. I’m hoping he provides something for us this year. Needs to get healthy like now

  • blue

    No sense of cutting him now, put him on IR if he is injured. Sean Spence took years to come back too.

  • walter

    Thats what I wanted to know. I wanted to know if he was training everyday. I mean he did just recover from a serious foot injury right? and I thought maybe he just started back training again.