Steelers Rookie Simply Sublime in HOF Game Win Over Cowboys

Pressley Harvin III

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images Pressley Harvin III of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys on August 5, 2021.

Thursday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame game against the Dallas Cowboys marked the highly-anticipated professional debut of Pittsburgh Steelers first-round pick Najee Harris. While the rookie running back didn’t necessarily disappoint—gaining 22 yards on seven carries while adding one reception for three yards—his performance was completely overshadowed by that of rookie punter Pressley Harvin III, Pittsburgh’s seventh-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

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Harvin had the opportunity to punt four times, and he averaged 45.8 yards per kick with a long of 51 yards. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. After his first punt went 35 yards (pinning Dallas at its 11-yard line) his second traveled 48 yards and was downed inside the one by Steelers rookie cornerback Mark Gilbert, with an assist from wide receiver Anthony Johnson.

Harvin’s third punt was a 51-yarder that went out of bounds at the Dallas 11-yard-line. Last but not least, his final kick of the night was a 49-yard line drive that took a funny bounce in front of Cowboys return man Reggie Davis, and Johnson recovered the subsequent muff.

The bottom line is that all of Harvin’s punts were impactful, and would have been even more momentous had they taken place in a regular-season contest.


‘Pressley Did Some Nice Things’?!?

Yet after the game (a 16-3 victory for the Steelers), Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t want to make too much of Harvin’s performance, limiting his commentary to “Pressley did some nice things” before moving on to highlight the contributions of other young players like wide receiver Mathew Sexton and linebacker Calvin Bundage.

But Steelers fans are already enamored with Harvin, not just because of his obvious upside potential, but because he’s, well, thicc. There simply aren’t any other punters who are short and stocky–that is, 6-0 and 255 pounds, though Harvin may be both shorter and heavier than his listed height and weight. Hence all the love being expressed for Harvin on social media during and after the game, with one fan already liking him for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Another individual asked if it’s too soon to start a fan club?


Is the Jordan Berry-Pressley Harvin Punting Competition Already Over?

Of course, the big question everyone needs to be asking is whether incumbent Jordan Berry (who is a more conventional 6-foot-5 and 195 pounds) can find a way to retain his job, having served as Pittsburgh’s punter for most of the past six seasons.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic thinks that’s almost inconceivable at this point, even after just one preseason game.

As such, it’s not too early to start thinking about the salary cap implications of cutting Berry. According to overthecap.com, his one-year contract (signed in March) calls for him to be paid a salary of $990,000 with a cap number of $950,000. Releasing him would put $100,000 in dead money on Pittsburgh’s 2021 salary cap while saving $850,000 in cash.

By way of comparison, Harvin is scheduled to earn a salary of $660,000 and will count $680,183 against the cap.

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