The Atlanta Falcons have signed Pittsburgh Steelers guard Rashaad Coward to a future contract for the 2022 season, making the first player that finished the 2021 season with the Steelers that will definitely not be returning for 2022.
Coward was signed by the Steelers as a free agent last offseason, was released at the end of training camp in a roster management procedure, then signed back to the active roster before being released on Oct. 12.
After spending some time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Coward returned to the Steelers as a member of the practice squad on Nov. 23, and was elevated to the active roster multiple times throughout the rest of the season.
In total, Coward played four games with the Steelers this season, in Weeks 14, 15, 16 and 18. He played almost exclusively a special teams role, playing just two snaps of offense at Minnesota on Dec. 9.
Coward entered the season as competition for incumbent left guard Kevin Dotson, and started training camp with the first team while Dotson ended up with a back injury, but was passed over for playing time not only by Dotson, but by B.J. Finney, J.C. Hassenauer and John Leglue after Dotson suffered a season-ending ankle injury.
Before his time in Pittsburgh, Coward signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2017 as a defensive lineman and played one game. In 2018, Bears head coach Matt Nagy moved Coward to offense, putting him at guard. Coward did not play in 2018, but started 10 games for Chicago in 2019 after an injury to Kyle Long.
In 2020, he played in all 16 games for the Bears, making five starts. Coward played in every Chicago offensive snap from Week 6 to Week 10 as the Bears dealt with the loss of starting left guard James Daniels.