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Mike Tomlin tacitly acknowledges Coty Sensabaugh has replaced Artie Burns as Steelers’ starter

November 30, 2018

Another week, another game in which Artie Burns stayed on the sidelines when the Pittsburgh Steelers were on defense.

This time, though, it wasn’t because he was late to a meeting. Had nothing to do with Burns’ ankle injury, either.

During his weekly news conference Monday, coach Mike Tomlin tacitly - but not not-so-subtly - confirmed that veteran Coty Sensabaugh has passed former first-round pick Burns on the Steelers’ depth chart at right cornerback.

Asked Monday if Sensabaugh has separated himself from Burns regarding playing time as one of the Steelers’ top two cornerbacks, Tomlin said: “You tell me, based on usage.”

Sensabaugh played 60 of the Steelers’ 61 defensive snaps during a 23-16 win at Baltimore on Sunday. Burns did not play on defense for the second consecutive week.

When Burns did not play cornerback during a win against the Browns on Oct. 28, Tomlin said it was because he was disciplining Burns for being late for a meeting the day prior.

Both players were on the official injury report released Friday - Sensabugh for turf toe suffered late in the Cleveland game, Burns for a turned ankle suffered late in Friday’s practice. Tomlin, though, confirmed that Burns was healthy enough to play.

Burns had started 31 consecutive Steelers games (counting playoffs) since earning a featured role Week 8 of his rookie 2016 season, a streak that ended at a Sept. 24 game at Tampa Bay in which Sensbaugh started two weeks after he was a healthy scratch for the season opener.

A seven-year veteran, Sensabaugh has started 36 of the 93 career games he has played. When the Steelers signed him to a two-year, $2.6 million contract in the spring of 2017, he was with his fourth team over a span of 14 months.

The Los Angeles Rams cut him three games into the 2016 season after they’d already paid him $4.5 million in salary and bonus money.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Ravens did not complete a pass to a man whom Sensabaugh had in coverage and just four balls were thrown Sensabaugh’s way - all to Michael Crabtree, one of which was dropped.

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