PITTSBURGH — Steelers safety Trenton Thompson said he will start on Sunday against the Browns. According to Thompson, amid injuries to Keanu Neal and Minkah Fitzpatrick, he has been told that he will be starting. He stands out as a ballhawk and potential playmaker.
“That’s what I was told,” Thompson said when asked if he was starting. “I’m grateful for the opportunity and ready to embrace it.”
On Thursday, Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said that Thompson could see playing time. He named Neal and Fitzpatrick as potential game-time decisions, but it appears both will be on track for missing the game.
“I think those are going to come down to game time, as we get closer to the game, and we’ll see,” Austin said.
Thompson is academic in the film room and even admitted that he has ‘been in the iPad’ a lot this week in preparation. He is not nervous but instead is almost jumpy and excited. College teammate Luq Barcoo noted that Thompson is a guy that can get excited for opportunities such as this one, but Thompson is adamant he is maintaining a certain calmness about him.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous,” Thompson said. “I like to be a guy that is calm and collected throughout the week. But I am someone that likes to have excitement for opportunities in front of me.”
Thompson signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft and spent the season primarily on the practice squad. Despite being promoted to the team’s active roster for one game last season, Thompson only played 12 snaps for the Giants with all coming on special teams. But he appears ready to jump into the shark’s tank and start this week against the Browns. Once he picked up the Steelers terminology, but it has less terminology to pick up on, so it is easier for him.
“First thing that I picked up is that the Steelers practice is way different,” said Thompson. “Terminology is pretty much that same, they don’t got as much terminology as my last playbook did so it makes it a little bit easier to catch on and get to it but I feel like I picked up on the playbook faster than I did on my last playbook so I am pretty happy with that.”
Thompson came onto the Steelers’ radar after several safety injuries, allowing him to get signed and make plays. Thompson nabbed an interception during his first game in the preseason against the Buccaneers. He would make similar plays in practice, earning a boom-or-bust reputation, but he had a nose for the ball. Now, he gets that chance once again.