Alas, Omar Khan didn’t have another “Khan Artist” style trade up his sleeve. The Steelers initial 53-man roster had 2 punters on it: Pressley Harvin and Braden Mann. Surely this wasn’t going to last. So speculation started.
Glancing down the Turnpike, the Eagles didn’t have a punter and had 7 defensive backs….
….Could Khan and Andy Weidl be cooking up a cross state exchange? After all, the biggest question on the depth chart was whether the Steelers had found the right mix between speed, youth and experience in their cornerback room.
While a trade never materialized, the Steelers did acquire a defensive back when they signed Desmond King who’d been cut by the Houston Texans. Unable to make a trade (assuming he tried), Khan remained in the Steelers comfort zone of “feeding the hand that slaps you.”
During the 2022 off season the Steelers filled key defensive needs by signing Levi Wallace, Genard Avery, and Larry Ogunjobi, all of whom had hurt the Steelers with big plays. And while few Steelers remember the name “Desmond King,” most will never be able to forget his 75 yard punt return for a touchdown in the Steelers 2018 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The play was not only dramatic, but was likely aided by an uncalled clip.
Desmond King was a 5th round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2017. He played for the Chargers for four season, appearing in 53 games and starting 23. The Chargers traded him to the Tennessee Titans in 2020 and he signed with the Houston Texans during the 2021 off season.
In Houston, King appeared in 33 games, starting 25 of those. During his career he’s logged in 9 interceptions, force 3 fumbles and recovered 7. He’s also made 8.5 sacks and delivered 16 hits on the quarterback.
And between Calvin Austin and Gunner Olszewski the Steelers appear to be set for returners, but King gives Mike Tomlin and Danny Smith an option there, having returned over 101 punts in his career and 57 kickoffs, including a 50 yarder just a year ago.