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Desmond King Leads List of Steelers Inactives vs. Browns



Steelers CB Desmond King
Steelers CB Desmond King at practice September 4, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Desmond King leads the Steelers list of inactives against the Cleveland Browns on Monday, the team announced.

Pittsburgh only has three inactive players, with King, wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, and offensive tackle Dylan Cook as the three inactives. Mason Rudolph is listed as an inactive but will serve as the emergency third quarterback if needed.

The team placed Diontae Johnson and Anthony McFarland on injured reserve on Monday afternoon. They promoted Qadree Ollison from the practice squad for some help in the backfield, with McFarland out for an extended period. Pittsburgh has only 51 members on the roster, but by elevating Ollision, they forced themselves to deactivate one more player.

For the Browns, nose tackle Siaki Ika will sit with edge rusher Isaiah McGuire, safety Ronnie Hickman, center Luke Wypler, and cornerback Kahlef Hailassie. Amari Cooper, who was questionable for the game, will play with a groin injury. Conversely, George Pickens is dealing with a hamstring injury, but will play.

The Steelers acquired King from the Houston Texans after they released him during final cut-downs. He is expected to have a role in the future, but he still has to catch up to guys like Elijah Riley and Chandon Sullivan to earn a helmet.

King, 28, played over 900 snaps for the Houston Texans in the last two seasons and did it relatively well, especially in 2022, when he had an 89.2 passer rating when targeted per Pro Football Focus.

He played most of his time in the slot, where he’s also a relatively solid run defender and, at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, is a somewhat thicker body than the Steelers have in Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan.

A fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017, King was a contributor right away as a rookie and has played at least 15 games in his five NFL seasons. King became a part-time starter in his second season and continued that role until he was traded to the Tennessee Titans mid-season in 2020. 

A free agent in 2021, he signed a one-year deal with Houston, which made him the Texans’ starting slot cornerback. Before last season, he signed a two-year contract extension and played well, setting a career-high in total snaps played, adding 103 snaps of special teams to his 918 of defense. He finished fourth on the Houston defense with 89 tackles and had two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

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