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Scout Team TE Justin Rigg Giving Steelers Expert Look at Bengals’ Hayden Hurst



Steelers TE Justin Rigg

PITTSBURGH — If the Pittsburgh Steelers give up a bunch of yards to new Cincinnati Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst this Sunday, it won’t be because the team wasn’t prepared for what Hurst can bring to the table.

Hurst, a former Pittsburgh Pirates draft pick, made the switch to football three years later, and is one of the few new members of the Cincinnati skill position group this season after C.J. Uzomah departed in free agency.

The Steelers are somewhat familiar with Hurst, who played for the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 and 2019. But they should be exceptionally familiar with him after this week’s of practice work.

Serving as the Steelers’ scout team tight end this week has been recent practice squad addition Justin Rigg. A rookie from Kentucky, Rigg spent this offseason with the Bengals, sharing a tight end room with Hurst for the last four months.

So if anyone is going to give the Steelers a good representation of what Hurst brings to the table, it’s Rigg.

“Great guy, great athlete — you have to be to play in this type of league,” Rigg said “He’s a great player and he’ll probably go out there and play a great game, but now I’m rooting against him.”

Rigg also has plenty of knowledge about the Cincinnati offense in general, especially when it comes to how they deploy their tight ends.

“Seeing the cards that they have up there showing us the plays, it’s just funny, because I know exactly what the play is and what they’re running,” Rigg said. “So it’s kind of interesting to see that and see this side of it and I’m excited to see what the Steelers do against the Bengals this week.”

Rigg obviously hopes to parlay his stint as practice squad tight end into a greater role with the Steelers. At 6-foot-6 and 266 pounds, he looks the part of a blocking complement to the team’s more receiving oriented players like Pat Freiermuth and Connor Heyward. Rigg was a red-zone specialist in his senior year at Kentucky, when four of 20 receptions were for touchdowns. 

The Springboro, Ohio native grew up on one side of the Bengals-Stelers rivalry and now will check out life on the other side as he tries to forge his NFL career.

“I’m a Steeler and I’m excited for that.”

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