The Steelers activated Cameron Sutton from injured reserve on Tuesday, the final day they had to decide on what direction to go with the rookie cornerback.
Sutton was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 4 with a hamstring injury. He was eligible to return because he was placed on IR after the 53-man roster was initially set. He returned to practice for the first time on Oct. 31, during the team's bye week. The Steelers had a 21-day window after his first practice to decide whether to activate him, or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
"He's a smart player," said defensive backs coach Carnell Lake.
Sutton, one of the Steelers' third-round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, will give the defense some depth in the absence of Joe Haden, who suffered a broken fibula against the Colts.
"The expectation is still the same," said Sutton, who played at Tennessee. "My approach every day is still the same. Even though I was out, I was still coming to everything, still doing everything. Now it's just going back out there and doing what I love to do."
Sutton didn't miss practice over the last three weeks, and like he did when he was out, he also benefitted from plenty of time in the meeting room.
"I am not a guy that veers off when things aren't going well, or I am not being out there," said Sutton of his time not practicing. "I stayed in every meeting. I traveled with the team and went to every game. I know what to do. Now it's getting back to the fundamentals and the basics and doing what I love to do.
"It definitely helped always being around. Mentally you have to work it every second of the day. That is the crucial part. The physical part is always going to be the same. Going out there, running routes, running around, and tackling. The mental is a different aspect of the game. That is where the battle is won most of the time. When you know what to do out there on the field, you're able to put other guys in good situations, put yourself in good situations, and it helps everyone on the defense make plays."