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Breiden Fehoko Is Bullish on Two Steelers Players This Season



Steelers Breiden Fehoko
Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Breiden Fehoko at OTAs on May, 28, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Breiden Fehoko recently joined Derrick Bell of Steelers Now on the Steelers_DB YouTube channel to talk some ball and cover a myriad of different topics. One of the discussions centered around breakout stars to look for in 2024.

Fehoko thinks third-year wide receiver Calvin Austin III and second-year cornerback Cory Trice are going to turn heads this season. This is not the first time that Fehoko has praised Austin. Fehoko said during an appearance on ESPN 92.9 FM in Memphis in May that Austin will flourish in Arthur Smith’s offense.

“Defensively, I’m really excited about Cory Trice,” Fehoko told Bell. “Because last year he was having a heck of a camp before he got hurt. Cory is a young guy that is always coming up to me like, ‘Hey, what is a good routine to get into?’ We always have these conversations, and I’m always telling Cory, ‘A little extra 15 minutes in the cold tub is going to help you, not today, but two weeks from now when we get to the dog days of camp and OTAs and stuff.’ Getting to see him day in (and) day out work back to where he was and then surpass that has been huge. He had a really good offseason rehabbing this year. To see him out there moving around getting with us was awesome.”

“And then on the offensive side of the ball, I’ve said it once. I’ve kind of made it known but Calvin Austin has been phenomenal. His locker is 2-3 lockers down from mine. To see Cal take on more of a receiver role versus just being a gadget guy. … To see what he was able to do at OTAs, how he progressed, how he’s become a leader, how he’s taking all the other receivers under his wing. (He) and GP (are) leading that room. Leading that charge. I’m really excited for what he’s bringing to the table and what he’s done for that room this year.”

Austin had a rough first two seasons. He was out all of 2022 with a Lisfranc injury, and in 2023 he recorded just 17 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown, which was a 72-yarder against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.

Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said at minicamp that Austin had an outstanding offseason.

“He’s been outstanding. That’s a guy that’s gone from here to here in the last eight weeks,” Azzanni said. “It’s been really fun to watch. He’s a worker, he’s intentful, he’s urgent. He wants to be coached. You can see it.

“His game has [improved]. I’m really, really excited for his season if he keeps practicing the way he’s been practicing.”

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III during minicamp on June 11, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Steelers quarterback Justin Fields also raved about Austin, stating that he’s “savage with his route running.”

“He can create a lot of space in small spaces,” Fields said. “He’s quick, savage with his route running and he’s just a hard worker. There are some plays where he knows he’s not getting the ball, and he’s still winning the route. To have a player like that much effort on the field every play is really good to see. I think it’s gonna rub off on the other guy too.”

Trice was impressive last offseason, Mike Tomlin even called Joey Porter Jr. and Trice the “Avatar cornerbacks,” in reference to their height and long arms. Trice’s season came to an abrupt end, however. On the first day of pads in training camp, he tore his ACL which ended his rookie season before it even started.

Trice is heading in the right direction in regard to his recovery and fully participated in the team’s OTAs. He also trained recently without a knee brace.

“It feels good to be back out there,” Trice told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now. “It feels like the first day of school.”

For an injury to the ACL, Trice said that it just comes down to the timeline that is set up and that he will be ready for the Steelers training camp in July.

“It’s just like a time thing,” Trice said. “As soon as I knew what happened, I went right into surgery. Now, I’m just grinding and trying to get back right… Definitely more work to do. I want to come back better. So definitely way more work to do, but I’m happy I’m able to go out there and participate… Training camp, I am going to be ready.”

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