As of Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie cornerback Cameron Sutton was officially eligible to start practicing with the team as he looks to return from a hamstring injury. While Sutton was eligible to start practicing again this week, the team has apparently decided to let him keep working on the side for now.
“If I could go today, I would,” Sutton said Wednesday, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Assuming that Sutton is now healthy enough to resume practicing, the Steelers probably decided not to start the 21-day window now on their first of two third round draft picks this year and that makes sense being as they don’t really need him right now due to their secondary currently being fully healthy. Additionally, by not starting the clock right now on Sutton it will give the Tennessee product some extra time to strengthen his hamstring more.
When Sutton was placed on the Steelers Reserve/Injured list at the start of the regular season, NFL rules stipulate he could not practice for six weeks and also that he wouldn’t be eligible to be added to the team’s 53-man roster as one of their two allotted designated-to-return players until after Week 8.
Once Sutton is finally allowed to resume practicing, a 21-day practice window will then open. By the end of those 21 days, the Steelers must either place Sutton on their 53-man roster or keep him on their Reserve/Injured list for the remainder of the season.
With the Steelers bye week now just a few weeks away, the team might ultimately decide to open Sutton’s practice window in Week 10 after their week off. That makes the most sense as we sit here in Week 7.
For now, Sutton will continue doing what he’s done for the last several weeks and that’s working on the side while attempting to try to stay caught up with any changes with the defense.
“I do the whole practice, the whole plays, run between the periods,” Sutton said. “I do all the stuff. It’s not like I’m not practicing. I’m just not doing it with the team.”
Sutton initially suffered his hamstring injury during the team’s training camp and he re-injured it during the Steelers preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.