PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick (hamstring) and Keanu Neal (ribs) are at best game-time decisions for this week. Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has options, one is going with first-year Steeler Trenton Thompson. Two weeks ago, he was on the practice squad, and now he might be a starter.
Thompson was elevated from the practice squad and came in to get seven reps at safety against the Packers. In his second year in the NFL, those were Thompson’s first snaps in the NFL on defense.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous,” Thompson said. “It’s just football. Same thing for this week I got an opportunity to start. I tell myself it’s just football, it doesn’t matter starter or thrown in the mix. I think I will be alright.”
He was just anxious to make a play when he finally got his opportunity. The 6’1”, 200-pound safety said he antsy to show he can go at this level. There is no guarantee he will start, but it’s safe to say he will be in the mix on Sunday in Cleveland.
“I think we like Trent,” said Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. “When we got Trent in camp, he came in and he was tough. Good tackler, showed some ball awareness and ball skills, those are the things you like. Until you see him in a real game situation, last week he got thrown in and we’ve got Trent and Eli (Riley) in the game.”
“(Will reserve judgment) Until we get a body of work we feel more comfortable with him. We like his initial skillset and things we saw.”
Thompson had a strong final season at San Diego State. Named second-team All-American by College Football Focus and third-team All-American by Pro Football Network as he was renowned for his hard-hitting. Three times in college he was an all-Mountain West selection and was a captain as a senior. He had 44 tackles (29 solo), 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions, 15 pass breakups and a forced fumble in 14 starts in 2021. His pass breakups tied him for fourth in FBS. The Palm Springs, California native two blocked kicks on special teams in college
He also played against Browns starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson in college in 2019, finishing with four tackles. He was part of a defense that held the then UCLA quarterback to 199 yards and one touchdown in a 23-14 San Diego State win.
There is still another day of practice, but even if Patrick Peterson plays some snaps at safety, Trenton Thompson is going to play defensive snaps in Cleveland.