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Steelers Safety Trenton Thompson Opens Up on Challenging Offseason

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Steelers S Trenton Thompson

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers safety Trenton Thompson’s 2023 season was derailed by a neck stinger suffered on Dec. 16 against the Indianapolis Colts. He returned to finish that game after the injury, but missed each of the team’s final three games.

Thompson had returned to practice and participated in the team’s practice on Wednesday leading up to the wild-card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills but was placed on the injured reserve shortly after.

Thompson said at Steelers’ OTAs that he wasn’t able to do many football activities this offseason, as his main focus was rehabbing his neck.

“Yeah, I went non-surgical,” Thompson said. “Personally, I wasn’t feeling surgery. Doctors also said it didn’t look like I needed it. I also had conversations with Micah Hyde throughout the offseason, because he was the only person that I could talk to that related to the injury. And he recommended I don’t (get surgery) unless the pain is too severe.”

Steelers SS Trenton Thompson

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Trenton Thompson during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 26, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The injury is behind Thompson, but it’s still something he has to be wary about.

“It’s behind me, but it’s also a step-by-step thing,” Thompson said. “Neck injury, you know, it can linger, it can go all different type of ways, nerve damage. We made some progress, but still got some steps to go, for sure.”

Thompson said his first introduction to offseason training was on April 16, which was the Steelers’ first day of voluntary workouts. He laid off on any training at home during the offseason due to his neck injury.

“I feel real comfortable, second year being here. Same team, similar guys. Still same playbook. I feel confident, but if the neck’s not there, I’m not going to be there. So it doesn’t even matter about that.”

A second-year pro out of San Diego State, the Steelers signed Trenton Thompson early in training camp when they had a plethora of injuries at the safety position. Thompson impressed the coaching staff and managed to get on the 53-man roster, playing in six games and made one start at strong safety, recording 22 tackles, three passes defended and one interception. In addition to his role on defense, Thompson also played significant time on the Steelers’ special teams units.

“It’s just football, I kind of still live by that,” Thompson said when asked what he learned from his first season with the Steelers. “I wouldn’t say I really learned too much, except there’s some real grown men on the field. A lot of stronger guys. But I wouldn’t say there was something that I truly learned from it. It’s just football, man. You make plays and you don’t.”

All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is a player that Thompson is surrounding himself around to gain wisdom.

“Minkah, I call him football nerds. That’s what I call guys who are super smart,” Thompson said. “He’s probably the third person I’ve met that can really understand the game more than a normal person. He asks questions that raises the coaches eyebrows. I don’t really ask him too many questions, but I definitely listen and pay attention to everything he says.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.