On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers practiced in anticipation of Thursday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame game, but did not get away injury free.
On his verified Twitter account, first-year cornerback DeMarkus Acy revealed that he tore his ACL today, just two days before he was scheduled to make his professional debut.
DeMarkus Acy Was a Team Captain at Missouri
Acy joined the Steelers in early May, having entered the league a year earlier, signing as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers. He was waived prior to the regular season and spent part of last year on the practice squad of the Seattle Seahawks.
Never mind that he was a three-year starter and team captain at the University of Missouri, earning second-team All-SEC honors in 2018. All told, he appeared in 46 games for the Tigers (with 36 starts), responsible for 99 tackles, 23 passes defensed, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Steelers will likely place Acy on injured reserve in the next few days, opening up another spot on the 90-man roster, presumably for another cornerback.
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The Competition Remains Intense At All 3 Cornerback Positions
At the time of his injury, Acy was running with the third-team at left cornerback, behind starter Joe Haden and backup Justin Layne, but ahead of former Chicago Bears seventh-round draft-pick Stephen Denmark (Valdosta State).
On the right side, the Steelers are taking a long look at a trio of young cornerbacks, one or more of whom will likely be counted on to provide depth behind presumptive starter Cameron Sutton. The trio is made up of: second-year man James Pierre, plus rookie undrafted free agents Mark Gilbert and Shakur Brown. Gilbert played his college ball at Duke and is the cousin of former Pitt star Darrelle Revis, who was a four-time first-team All-Pro. He’s also the nephew of another former Pitt standout, Sean Gilbert, who had an 11-year career in the NFL. As for Brown, he played at Michigan State and his style of play has been described as akin to that of an “angry hornet.”
Meanwhile, the battle to replace Mike Hilton at slot cornerback is currently a two-man race between second-year player Antoine Brooks Jr. and former New York Jets cornerback/safety Arthur Maulet. (Hilton signed a four-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.)
The Steelers are also looking to settle on a replacement for last year’s CB2, Steven Nelson. The team terminated Nelson’s contract in March just hours after he sent what he described as an “out of character” tweet. A week ago, the Philadelphia Eagles inked Nelson to a one-year contract worth $4 million.
The cornerback competition continues in earnest on Thursday evening when the Steelers take on the Dallas Cowboys at 8 p.m. ET (FOX).
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