Though he made the least noise of all former Jayhawks during last April’s NFL Draft, former Kansas University safety Justin Thornton, now with the Pittsburgh Steelers, came up with a loud hit during the Steelers’ 23-7 preseason victory against Detroit on Saturday.
Thornton, an undrafted rookie who signed with the Steelers shortly after the draft, played most of the second half and made his presence felt with a big hit on Detroit running back DeDe Dorsey that saved the Steelers from what looked like a sure touchdown. After Thornton and Dorsey collided, the ball popped loose, and the Steelers recovered.
The hit was featured on NFL.com as one of three video highlights from that game. In addition to the jarring hit on Dorsey, Thornton recorded another tackle on special teams.
Considered a long shot to catch on with an NFL club after a less-than-memorable pro day at KU, Thornton was fast and effective during the Steelers’ organized team activities earlier this summer and has carried that momentum over to the preseason.
With his continued strong play and the fact that the Steelers recently lost one of their six safeties, Tuff Harris, to a season-ending shoulder injury, Thornton’s shot of making the opening-day roster appears to be increasing by the day.
Stuckey sits out
San Diego Chargers safety Darrell Stuckey, who played at KU from 2004-09, sat out the Chargers’ preseason opener Saturday night because of a groin injury.
Stuckey, a fourth-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, appears to be competing for serious playing time in the Chargers’ secondary. The injury is not believed to be serious.
Briscoe held without a catch
Former KU wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe did not make a catch during Cincinnati’s 33-24 victory against Denver on Sunday night. In the Bengals’ preseason opener, Briscoe caught the only ball thrown his way for a 16-yard gain. Sunday, just one pass went Briscoe’s way again, and it was low.
Briscoe is fighting to become the fourth or fifth receiver in the Bengals lineup. Ahead of him on the Cincinnati depth chart are veterans Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco, offseason acquisition Antonio Bryant, fourth-year Bengal Andre Caldwell and former University of Texas receiver Jordan Shipley, whom the Bengals selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
Shipley caught five passes for 50 yards Sunday against Denver.
Former KU lineman passes away
Fedro Dillon, a menacing defensive presence who played for KU in the early 1970s, passed away Aug. 5 at the age of 58.
Dillon, a defensive tackle on KU’s 1973 Liberty Bowl team, played for KU from 1972-74. His son, Dijon Dillon, a former Free State High standout, also played for KU in 1999.