It’s a rarity for a player who was called up to form an NFL team, let alone the 53-man roster, but cornerback James Pierre did. Most of the snaps came on special teams, but now that Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton are no longer in Pittsburgh, Pierre’s opportunities should grow – especially if he continues to have practice like the one on Wednesday.
After each offseason session, a standout player gets rap with the media at a press conference. Pierre’s two interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger during the minicamp earned him that right.
“To be honest, Ben is not just throwing the ball,” Pierre said. “It̵
Roethlisberger gave Pierre well-deserved props. “After training, Ben came up to me, told me a good job, gave me a fist,” Pierre said. “It built my confidence a little bit.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin sees that confidence. He said Pierre knows what is needed of him physically and mentally and has high expectations of him this season.
“I think we’re looking for all the second-year players who got experience and that guy got a lot of experience last year,” Tomlin told the media on Wednesday. “[Pierre] did not play much defense, but he wore a helmet every week and prepared every week. He was a critical component of our special team unit and that is usually an indication of the guys who are ready to move on. I think it’s fair to expect him to do that. ”