Lions Poach Steelers Cornerback With ‘Famous’ NFL Bloodlines: Report

Mark Gilbert

Nell Redmond-Pool/Getty Images Duke Blue Devils cornerback Mark Gilbert intercepts a pass intended for Boston College Eagles wide receiver Zay Flowers on September 19, 2020.

According to Adam Schefter, senior NFL insider for ESPN, the Detroit Lions are signing former Duke University cornerback Mark Gilbert off of the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad. The news comes via Gilbert’s agent, Zac Hiller of LAL Sports.

As noted by the Detroit Free Press, Gilbert has some “famous (NFL) bloodlines,” as he’s the cousin of former four-time first-team All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis and the nephew of former NFL defensive lineman Sean Gilbert.

Revis is the more famous of the two, as he’s a seven-time Pro Bowler who won AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 with the New York Jets. But Gilbert—who was selected No. 3 overall in 1992 by the Los Angeles Rams—also had a long, successful career in the NFL, playing 11 seasons with four different teams, making the Pro Bowl during his second season in the league. Both Darrelle Revis and Sean Gilbert starred at the University of Pittsburgh before entering the NFL, with Revis drafted No. 14 overall in 2007 by the Jets.

In the wake of the news, Gilbert sent out a tweet thanking the Steelers for giving him his first opportunity in the NFL.

Then he sent another aimed at his new audience.

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Gilbert Must Remain on Detroit’s Roster Until at Least Early November

It remains to be seen whether Mark Gilbert can develop into something more than a practice squad player at the NFL level. He’ll get his first real opportunity to show what he can do with the Lions, who by rule, must keep him on their active roster for at least the next three games.

It’s also perhaps worth noting that Gilbert can conceivably provide a bit of intelligence about Pittsburgh’s offense and defense, in anticipation of the forthcoming game between the Lions and Steelers at Heinz Field, which will take place on Sunday November 14.

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Another Day, Another Developmental Prospect Lost

Meanwhile, it’s definitely worth noting that other NFL teams have been making a habit of scooping up Pittsburgh’s developmental prospects this season.

The Steelers lost promising outside linebacker Jamir Jones to the Rams after Los Angeles claimed him on waivers on September 29. He went on to make his debut for the Rams on October 7 and made an immediate impact, responsible for the ‘double punt’ block that went viral during the Thursday Night Football game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Jones was the second developmental outside linebacker that the Steelers lost in September, following in the wake of the New York Giants making a waiver claim for 2021 Steelers sixth-round pick Quincy Roche.

Prior to that the Los Angeles Rams also grabbed safety/cornerback/linebacker Antoine Brooks Jr., who signed to the Rams’ practice squad just days after Pittsburgh waived him from its Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement. Brooks entered training camp as the odds-on favorite to take over for Mike Hilton as Pittsburgh’s slot cornerback, but he could not stay healthy during camp and the preseason. Ultimately, he was waived/injured on August 24 during the team’s second round of roster cuts.

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