PITTSBURGH — The Steelers were excited to potentially see what they had in newly acquired cornerback William Jackson III, but that may not happen. A nagging back injury that kept Jackson out of three games in Washington is seemingly still holding the cornerback back from fully going ahead in his plans with the Steelers.
Jackson has to learn an entirely new scheme, but on both Wednesday and Thursday, he did not practice. It would not be crazy to think that Jackson could play on Sunday, but without the week and a half of practice, he is unlikely to have a massive role. When he arrived in Pittsburgh, Jackson acknowledged that the back injury occurred in Week 5 and he played through it. It is now good, but it appears he is not fully there yet.
“It’s good. It’s good. I’m getting around to almost 100 percent and I’m just ready to get on the field,” Jackson said.
As for Teryl Austin, the defensive coordinator, Jackson has gone through meetings. That is all fine and good, but it appears less and less likely that Jackson will get any significant role without those two key days of practice. William Jackson III is a veteran, and that can help him, but it can only help him so much.
“Well, I’m not sure what to expect,” Austin said. “He’s been in meetings, he’s been participating. He’s still a little bit hobbled, so I’m not sure what to expect or if I can expect him this weekend. But we’ll let that thing play out all the way till we get to game time, and if he’s available, he’s available. If he’s not, we’ll wait till he’s available and healthy and go from there.”
So, unless Jackson feels healthy enough to fully go, then it appears he could be on the sidelines for most of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. The Steelers are eager to see the cornerback who they seemed locked in on during the 2016 NFL Draft process, but that may have to wait a bit.