PITTSBURGH — Undrafted free agents have to take their opportunity and run with it for an entire summer. The Steelers have had some undrafted free agent receivers try and make that path happen in the past. Players such as Eli Rogers and Nate Washington have carved out multiple-year careers in the Black and Gold as a result of strong training camps and preseasons.
Early on in this training camp, the man trying to take on that storm and make the roster in a loaded wide receiver room is Rico Bussey. The former Hawaii wideout is trying to find his footing, but a few deep receptions on Thursday only turned more heads at training camp.
“I want to make the team,” Bussey said. “I want to contribute however I can contribute.”
In order to make the team as the sixth receiver, Bussey is going to have to attack this on two fronts. For one, he will still have to make the plays he is making right now. The Steelers ran a lot of Cover 2 on Thursday, and Bussey was the man who made the holeshots possible. However, special teams will also have to be a big factor in Bussey making the team. He will likely have to bring something to the table there. It is all about the opportunities he gets that Bussey wants to take advantage of on the gridiron.
“When you get your opportunity you need to make the most of it,” Bussey said. “So far, I feel like I have.”
As he is trying to make the roster, Bussey says the older receivers, namely JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson, are setting an example for him to abide by on the field.
“They come to practice every day and are focused,” Bussey said. “They focus on their technique. They don’t just take it how it is. They are really detailed.”
Even as Bussey continues to show out, Mike Tomlin is not giving the receiver any extra praise as he tries to earn his spot on the roster. Talking with the media, Tomlin quipped about how another roster hopeful, Matthew Sexton, made a few plays on another day but was never called over for a press conference.
“He (Bussey) made a play or two,” Tomlin said. “But Sexton made a play or two the other day and you guys didn’t call Sexton over.”
While Bussey will have to hope the Steelers keep six wide receivers in order to make the team, he certainly is making a great argument to be that sixth man as it stands right now.