PITTSBURGH — With Minkah Fitzpatrick injured in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 2 win over the Cleveland Browns, fellow Steelers safety Damontae Kazee figured to have a bigger role in the offense this week as the team preps for its Week 3 trip to Las Vegas.
But Kazee himself was a surprise non-participant in practice on Wednesday, missing the first session of the short week with a previously undisclosed calf injury.
When Fitzpatrick was injured on Monday night, Kazee became the Steelers starting free safety, with Keanu Neal working as the strong safety and Elijah Riley working as the third safety in the team’s Heavy Okie, Heavy Nickel and Heavy Dime packages.
Without either Fitzpatrick or Kazee available, the Steelers are down to Neal, Riley, special teamer Miles Killebrew and practice squad member Trenton Thompson in terms of healthy safeties at practice on Wednesday.
Fitzpatrick has a chest contusion and his status for this week is up in the air. He was taken to the hospital after leaving the game on Monday, but he was released on Tuesday and head coach Mike Tomlin did not rule him out this week when speaking about his injuries on Tuesday.
The Steelers had two other safeties that played a good bit in training camp: 2021 seventh-round pick Tre Norwood and Imani Christian and West Virginia alum Kenny Robinson. Both of those players remain available on the free agent market if the Steelers feel they need to make an addition.
Kazee missed time at the start of last season after suffering a broken arm in the final preseason game. He played nine games, made four starts and finished the season with 20 tackles, two passes defended and two interceptions.