Gilbert won’t rest on strong preseason debut ☕


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Steelers linebacker Ulysees Gilbert -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

LATROBE, Pa. -- Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. Maybe it was a reminder for the rookie to stay humble. But Mike Tomlin made a serious slip up when talking about the play of linebacker Ulysees Gilbert last Friday night.

Tomlin was asked about the uneven play of rookie cornerback Justin Layne and morphed that into a conversation he had with his team earlier that morning coming off a preseason-opening 30-28 win over the Buccaneers last Friday night.

"Ulysees Grant (Gilbert), made a lot of splash plays," Tomlin said Tuesday at Saint Vincent College. "But I pointed out to the team those plays were made between plays 80 and 89 defensively. So the people who he was on the field with were not the same quality of people Justin Layne was out there with. So we had better not read too much into the quality of the performance. We all just better keep our heads down and keep working."

All accidental references to the former U.S. president and Civil War general aside, the point is well taken with Gilbert. So much for that first impression, rookie.

Even though the sixth-round pick out of Akron celebrated his 22nd birthday with three tackles, 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, forced a fumble and intercepted a two-point conversion pass, Tomlin wasn't about to throw him a party.

There's still plenty of work to be done for the eighth of the Steelers' nine draft picks if he's going to earn a spot on the 53-man roster this season.

"Did I have two sacks? I had a strip-sack for a fumble. Yeah, I did have two sacks and an interception," he told me with a big smile on his face. "Already forgotten. I was just happy to be out there with my teammates, happy to play fast."

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