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Steelers CB Darius Rush Shines at OTAs to Kick Off Second Year

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Darius Rush is shining at the team;s OTAs to start off his second season with the club.

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Pittsburgh Steelers CB Darius Rush
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Darius Rush at the team's OTAs, May 22, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — When Omar Khan and Mike Tomlin added what they termed as ‘Avatar cornerbacks’ in Joey Porter Jr., Cory Trice, and later on in the season, Darius Rush, they hoped the collective size and athleticism would give them a tremendous cornerback room capable of making life hard on guys like Joe Burrow and Lamar Jackson. So far, Porter has ascended into a quick-rising tier of top cornerbacks in the NFL, while the other two show promise.

Trice is back on the football field, returning to the team after suffering a torn ACL at training camp a season ago. Meanwhile, Rush played for the Steelers after joining them midseason but only had one significant game of playing time as the team’s dimebacker against the Tennessee Titans.

But Pittsburgh added only Donte Jackson to the cornerback room, showing some confidence in Rush and Trice. Those players feel that, and it gives confidence to young players who need to trust their technique and mental makeup to take a leap in their second year. Rush, for one, has more confidence than he did a season ago.

Steelers CB Darius Rush Depth Chart

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Darius Rush at practice on Oct. 18, 2023. — Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

“It’s been a long journey for sure, but just to be back in this building, I’m grateful, grateful, grateful for the opportunity and just looking forward to carving out a role here in this organization, whether it’s defense or special teams, you know, so I’m just here to compete every day and instill some trust into these coaches to show that I’m able to compete and play for them,” Rush said.

Darius Rush got off to a hot start on Wednesday with two impressive pass breakups. On the other hand, he also noted that special teams coach Danny Smith likes him, and he has worked on every specials unit to this point. Even with the new kickoff rules, Rush can fill the James Pierre role that left the Steelers when Pierre signed with the Washington Commanders this offseason.

“What I have on special teams is really going out there and, and showcasing what I can do whether it’s the gunner squad, jammer squad, kick-off or kick-off or turn being a front line guy or anything like that, you know, so just to go out there and that’s another way to carve my name in this organization,” Rush said. “So just got to really go out there and just compete on defense as well and just compete on special teams as well.”

With better technique and a clear role developing on special teams, Rush has upside that the Steelers hope they tap into this season. At the very least, Rush is off to a solid start in his second year after a journey throughout the NFL in his rookie season. That stability is part of what the Steelers hope can aid Rush is taking a jump.