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Steelers Sign Fastest-Ever NFL Cornerback for 2024

The Pittsburgh Steelers have re-signed cornerback Kalon Barnes, the fastest defensive player in NFL Combine history, for the 2024 season.



Steelers CB Kalon Barnes

The Pittsburgh Steelers have re-signed cornerback Kalon Barnes to a future contract for the 2024 season, the team announced on Tuesday.

Barnes, 25, joined the team’s practice squad back on Sept. 15, and spent just two weeks there, getting released on Sept. 26. After being released by the Steelers, he also spent time with the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. He was with Cleveland when their season ended in the Wild Card round. Barnes did not play in a game this season.

A 6-foot, 186-pound cornerback out of Baylor, Barnes was a seventh-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2022. Barnes ran a 4.23-second 40-yard dash at the 2022 combine, the second-fastest time since electronic timing was introduced in 1999 and fasted ever for a defensive player. Wide receiver John Ross ran a 4.22-second 40 in 2017.

A Silsbee, Texas native, Barnes started as a wide receiver before transitioning to cornerback at Baylor. Barnes was a late bloomer with the Bears, earning a playing role right away but not a starter’s job until his senior season in 2021.

Barnes played a total of 41 games in Waco, finishing with 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three interceptions, one forced fumble and 17 passes defended.

The Panthers drafted Barnes late in 2022, but he did not make their initial 53-man roster. He signed with the Miami Dolphins practice squad, and was then poached from that unit by the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 14.

He played nine snaps for Minnesota in two of the season’s last three games, all of which came on special teams. Barnes was cut by the Vikings coming out of training camp last August, before joining the Steelers.