Steelers safety Morgan Burnett set to return against Browns
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Morgan Burnett is just happy to be back on the field.
The veteran safety will play Sunday at home against Cleveland after missing the previous four games with a groin injury.
"It's good to get back into the flow of things and get back into a normal work week," Burnett said Friday. "As a competitor, you want to be out there, you don't want to miss anything, but I understand that comes with the game. This is a physical game, and you demand a lot from your body, but once it happened, being upset isn't going to help you heal faster."
Burnett, in his ninth season, played in the Steelers' first two games against Cleveland and Kansas City, but he has been out since Sept. 16 with his injury. This week was the first time Burnett fully practiced three straight days without any setback.
"Everything felt good," Burnett said. "Everything went well this week. I definitely feel prepared and ready. I'm just trying to take positive steps forward."
Burnett tried to practice before the Sept. 30 home game against Baltimore and the following week against Atlanta, but wasn't able to return.
"It wasn't quite ready and my body made sure it let me know that," Burnett said. "We went back to rehabbing and went from there. I just followed protocol, and I did what the trainers asked me to do to try and get back as quick as possible."
The 29-year-old Burnett spent his first eight seasons in Green Bay before signing a three-year, $14.5-million contract with the Steelers in the offseason. He started 102 games for the Packers and won a Super Bowl ring in 2011, when Green Bay beat Pittsburgh.
The Steelers signed Burnett in hopes he could provide leadership to a young secondary group, but the veteran has spent most of his time in Pittsburgh watching from the sideline thanks to a steady stream of injuries. He missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury before his latest groin issue.
"I think it's your job as a professional to stay locked in," Burnett said. "You can't physically go out there, so you have to stay in tune mentally with the game plan."
Defensive coordinator Keith Butler is excited to have Burnett back in the fold.
"We miss him and I'm glad he's back," Butler said. "I think Morgan gives us a little bit more opportunity to do some things that we haven't done. I think he'll help us."
Rookie safety Terrell Edmunds has started the last four games in place of Burnett. The Steelers' first-round pick was supposed to spend his first season learning behind Burnett, but he has been thrown into the mix with favorable reviews.
Still, Edmunds is glad to see Burnett healthy again.
"It's definitely nice to have him back, it's nice to have everybody back," Edmunds said. "It's just a good thing to have another leader in the secondary."
Burnett just wants to make an impression during his first season in Pittsburgh and put his injury struggles in the past.
"It's tough, but that just comes with the business," Burnett said. "The only thing you can do is take it one day at a time and do all you can do to get back on the field.
"I just want to be accountable as a teammate and do my job to the best of my ability."
NOTES: Starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert will miss Sunday's game with a knee injury. Second-year lineman Matt Feiler will fill in and make his second start of the season at right tackle. Feiler also started the Steelers' first win of the season Sept. 24 at Tampa Bay.
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