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Cory Trice Jr. Patient With His Rehab, Wants to ‘Come Back Better’

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Pittsburgh Steelers CB Cory Trice

The Pittsburgh Steelers felt like they got a steal when they drafted Cory Trice Jr. in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Some draft boards had Trice going as early as the third round but he eventually fell to the seventh round due to the surrounding medical concerns.

Trice’s official medical examinations were not released but it is public knowledge that he had a history of leg injuries prior to the Steelers drafting him. While he started to make plays at the Steelers training camp in 2023, on the first day of pads, he tore his ACL which ended his rookie season before it even started.

Now, Trice is heading in the right direction in regard to his recovery and fully participated in the team’s OTAs in May. Just being on the field again has made Trice feel like a kid again.

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

While he participated in OTAs, Trice is not fully healed as of yet. 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.”

After his injury, Trice could have opted to return home and rehab from there but instead he chose to stay in Pittsburgh to be around his teammates. He said that was a great decision because while he was not able to play, he learned how a professional operates day-in and day-out.

“It was good mentally, physically,” Trice said. “Being around the guys, continuing learning the plays, seeing how everything operates throughout the season.”

Now with a season of learning from the sidelines, Trice is ready to help the team win and the Steelers might need to rely on him early and often in 2024. Outside of Joey Porter Jr., the other outside cornerback position is up for grabs for guys including Trice but as of now, the second-year cornerback is just focused on getting better, not claiming a starting role.

“I am just trying to get better everyday,” Trice said about the opening opposite of Porter. “I know once I am out there everything will take care of itself.”

Speaking of Porter, he and Trice became good friends over the course of last season. With Porter putting on a great performance throughout the 2023 season, it has given Trice added confidence that he can go out and replicate that success.

“It was actually a good thing,” Trice explained. “Seeing [Porter] go out there and do it just gave me more confidence going into this year.”

Regardless, Trice will have to get and stay fully healthy if he wants to have an impact on the team in 2024. With his size and speed, Trice could fill in nicely across from Porter but until he can put results on tape, the job will stay an open competition.

27 • Cory Trice Jr., Cornerback, Purdue
6-foot-3, 206 pounds, 24 years old, 2nd Season

Acquired: The Steelers drafted Cory Trice with the 241st pick in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft after he fell down draft boards due to pre-draft medical concerns.

Last season: Cory Trice missed his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL that he suffered in the team’s training camp last fall. On the play that he was injured on, Trice came in to fill the gap on an outside zone run. He went low to make the tackle and had multiple players fall on his legs, causing him to go down. Trice did not put much weight on his leg and was helped off by trainers.

Steelers CB Cory Trice

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cory Trice Jr. during OTAs on May 31, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Year GP Tackles INTs PDs
2023 0 0 0 0

CollegeOriginally from Kentucky, Cory Trice committed to the University of Purdue to continue his football career. As a freshman in 2o18, Trice appeared in three games for the Boilermakers and recorded one tackle against Minnesota. Due to his limited playing time, Trice preserved his red shirt.

As a redshirt freshman, Trice appeared in 11 games for Purdue and notched five starts at cornerback. On the season, Trice recorded 35 combined tackles, three interceptions, four defended passes, and one tackle for loss. His three interceptions led the Boilermakers in 2019. In a game against Maryland, Trice hauled in two of his three interceptions and returned one for a touchdown.

Steelers 2023 NFL Draft Cory Trice

Purdue cornerback Cory Trice Jr. lines up before a play.

During the shortened COVID season in 2020, Trice started all six of Purdue’s games and tallied 31 tackles, two defended passes, and one tackle for loss. In 2021, Trice started the first two games of the season before suffering a torn ACL that ended his season. Through the first two games, Trice tallied four tackles and two passes defended.

Trice bounced back in 2022 after a torn ACL ended his previous season early. He played in all 13 games for Purdue and tallied 34 tackles, two interceptions, a career-high 12 passes defended, and two tackles for loss. His pick-six against the Indiana Hoosiers helped seal the Big Ten West title outright for the Boilermakers.

Following the season, the league’s coaches named Trice an honorable mention All-Big Ten nominee.

Over his five-year career at Purdue, Trice played in 34 games and logged 24 starts in the Boilermakers’ secondary. He finished his collegiate career with 105 total tackles, five interceptions, two defensive touchdowns, 20 passes defended, and four tackles for loss.

Year GP TKLs INTs PDs TFLs
2018 2 1 0 0 0.0
2019 11 35 3 4 1.0
2020 6 31 0 2 1.0
2021 2 4 0 2 0.0
2022 13 34 2 12 2.0

Salary cap and future: Cory Trice is entering the second year of his standard four-year rookie contract with the Steelers. In 2024, Trice will cost $816,109 against the team’s cap space. His cap hit includes a base salary of $795,000 and $21,109 in bonus money.

Trice’s deal will keep him with the team through the end of the 2026 season.

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