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Cam Heyward, Maurkice Pouncey, T.J. Watt Won’t Travel with Steelers to Cleveland



Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward, center Maurkice Pouncey and linebacker T.J. Watt will not travel with the team to Cleveland, team spokesperson Burt Lauten announced on Saturday.

The three Steelers veterans will join quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as relatively healthy players that the team will hold out of the season finale against the Browns. Kicker Chris Boswell (groin) and safety Terrell Edmunds (shoulder) will miss the game with injuries, while cornerback Joe Haden will not play after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Steelers do not have a lot at stake in the last game of the regular season. They have already clinched the AFC North and are locked into either the No. 2 or the No. 3 seed in the conference. They need to win against Cleveland and have Buffalo lose to Miami in order to earn the No. 2 seed.

The game means significantly more for the Browns, who can secure a Wild Card berth with a win and will see their chances of playing postseason football significantly dashed with a loss.

Mason Rudolph is expected to start in place of Roethlisberger. J.C. Hassenauer should be in line to once again replace Pouncey, as he has multiple times this season.

Ola Adeniyi is expected to return from an injury that held him out of the team’s Week 16 win over Indianapolis and will likely start opposite Alex Highsmith at outside linebacker.

Nose tackle Tyson Alualu will likely absorb some of Heyward’s sub package reps, as he did when fellow starting end Stephon Tuitt missed time earlier this season. Isaiah Buggs, Henry Mondeaux and Chris Wormey will provide depth.

Dime cornerback Cam Sutton will likely shift outside to replace Haden, with second-year backup Justin Layne moving into Sutton’s Dime role.

Matthew Wright is expected to be called up from the practice squad for the third time this season to replace Boswell, while Sean Davis will likely make his first start of the season at strong safety in place of Edmunds.

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Steelers Transactions

Steelers Re-Sign RB Trey Edmunds, OL Jarron Jones to Future Contracts



The Steelers have re-signed running back Trey Edmunds and offensive lineman Jarron Jones to a reserve/future contracts for the 2021 season, the team announced on Friday.

Edmunds’ singing comes just three days after the Steelers waived him. The team removed Edmunds from the injured reserve list on Tuesday and put him through waivers. He would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but clearing waivers made him a street free agent and eligible to be re-signed to a future contract.

Edmunds, 26, just finished his third season with the team. He appeared in four games, playing mostly on special teams, before suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s Week 10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that caused him to spend the rest of the season on the injured reserve list.

In 2019, Edmunds saw his most extensive playing time, and carried 22 times for 92 yards for a 4.2 yards per carry average while also racking up six tackles and an interception on special teams.

Edmunds was waived by the Steelers earlier in the 2020 season, but was re-signed by the club on Nov. 10.

A 6-foot-2, 223-pound running back out of Maryland, Edmunds spent his rookie season in 2017 with the New Orleans Saints before catching on in Pittsburgh. He is the older brother of Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds.

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Jarron Jones (74) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing for a Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Jones spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad, and then the practice squad injured reserve after suffering an injury late in the season. The Steelers originally signed Jones in April after he spent time with the New York Guardians of the XFL. The Steelers released the Notre Dame alum at the outset of training camp and signed him to the practice squad.

In October, Jones was arrested and charged with two felonies after police responded to a call for domestic disturbance at a home in the city’s Crawford-Roberts neighborhood. Jones allegedly strangled his girlfriend, hit her and the face and struck her with a gaming console, police allege.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for April 13 in front of magistrate Kim Berkeley Clark after being postponed twice.

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Steelers Transactions

Steelers Sign 13 to Reserve/Future Contracts



The Steelers have signed 13 players to reserve/future contracts for the 2021 season, the team announced on Thursday.

Safety John Battle, defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, guard/tackle Anthony Coyle, wide receiver Anthony Johnson, outside linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz, offensive tackle John Leglue, tight end Kevin Rader, inside linebacker Tegray Scales, defensive end Calvin Taylor, punter Corliss Waitman, offensive tackle Brandon Walton, cornerback Trevor Williams and wide receiver Cody White were all re-signed for the 2021 season.

All 13 players had been on the Steelers’ practice squad during the 2020 season.

Battle, who just finished his second professional season out of LSU, spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad after originally joining the team on a futures contract last January.

Christmas is a former sixth-round draft pick (2019) of Seattle that was released by the Seahawks on Oct. 6. The Steelers signed him to the practice squad Nov. 7, where he remained for the rest of the season.

Coyle just finished his third pro season out of Fordham. He joined the Steelers in the spring of 2020 after a stint in the XFL. He spent most of the season on the practice squad but was promoted to the active roster twice, against Baltimore in Week 12 and against Cleveland in Week 17. He did not appear in either game.

Johnson signed with the Steelers last January on a future contract after spending his first pro season in Tampa Bay and with the Los Angeles Chargers. He was injured in training camp, given an injury settlement and then re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 26.

Kuntz, a Duquesne and Chartiers Valley alum, spent his second season with the Steelers. The fourth-year pro also has spent time with the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. Kuntz was with the Steelers in training camp in 2019, played with the Dallas Renegades in the XFL in 2020, then re-joined the Steelers in March. He was cut on Aug. 2, then re-signed to the practice squad on Nov. 24, released Dec. 23, re-signed Dec. 29 and released again on Jan. 6.

Leglue, a second-year pro out of Tulane, was a late addition to the Steelers’ practice squad, signing with the team on Dec. 29 after spending training camp this year with the Green Bay Packers.

Rader, a Youngstown State and Pine-Richland grad, just finished his second season with the Steelers and third in the NFL. He spent almost the entire 2019 season on the practice squad and this season was elevated to the active roster for the regular season finale against Cleveland and the Wild Card game. At Cleveland, he made three special teams tackles.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Tegray Scales (40) practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex preparing for a Week 11 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Scales joined the team mid-season after spending training camp with the club in 2019 and playing with the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in the spring of 2020. He was added to the practice squad on Nov. 11 and elevated to the active roster on Dec. 13. Scales played in four games, primarily on special teams, without recording any statistics.

Taylor, a rookie free agent from Kentucky, spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad.

Waitman, a rookie free agent from South Alabama, also spent the entire season on the practice squad.

Walton, a Florida Atlantic grad, was originally with the Buffalo Bills as a rookie free agent, but joined the Steelers practice squad on Sept. 19 and remained there the rest of the season.

White joined the Steelers practice squad just after training camp ended on Sept. 24. He was with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants earlier in the offseason, his first in the pro ranks out of Michigan State.

Williams was the last addition to the Steelers before the end of the season, signing with the practice squad on Jan. 6. In his fifth pro season in 2020, he also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars. Williams was with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 and spent three seasons with the Chargers after going undrafted out of Penn State.

Six players that ended the 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad were not re-signed for 2021: wide receiver Deon Cain, quarterback Devlin Hodges, tight end Charles Jones, guard/tackle Jarron Jones, running back Wendell Smallwood and kicker Matthew Wright.

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Steelers Transactions

Steelers Tight Ends Coach James Daniel Retires



Steelers tight ends coach James Daniel will retire following the end of the 2020 season, the team announced on Thursday.

Daniel, 67, spent the last 17 seasons with the Steelers, all of them as tight ends coach, most notably overseeing the entire career of Steelers legend Heath Miller. 

Daniel won two Super Bowls as an assistant with the Steelers and coached in a third during his tenure with the team.

A native of Wetumpka, Alabama, Daniel played offensive line at Alabama State. After his playing career, he got his start in coaching at Enterprise High School in Enterprise, Alabama. In 1981, Daniel was hired by Auburn head coach Pat Dye to coach the Tigers’ offensive line and Daniel remained at Auburn for over a decade. 

In 1993, he got his first opportunity in the NFL, coaching tight ends for the New York Giants under Dan Reeves. In 1997, Daniel followed Reeves to the Atlanta Falcons, where he was tight ends coach and offensive line coach from 1997 to 2003.

Daniel came to Pittsburgh in 2004 under Bill Cowher and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and stayed on after Mike Tomlin became head coach in 2007. Daniel has coached tight ends for the last five Steelers offensive coordinators.

Only assistant head coach John Mitchell pre-dated Daniel on the Steelers’ coaching staff.

The retirement of Daniel makes four openings on the Steelers’ staff going into the 2021 season, with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, secondary coach Tom Bradley and offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett all not retained by the team.

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