Safety Curtis Riley has been signed from the Steelers’ practice squad by the Arizona Cardinals. Riley signed with the Steelers on July 30 after spending the 2019 season with the Oakland Raiders. Riley survived the Steelers’ initial cut down to a 53-man roster, but was released on Sept. 6 after the team re-signed safety Sean Davis. He was added to the practice squad that day.
The Steelers had the option to protect Riley to prevent him from signing with another club, but chose not to. Their four protected practice squad players this week are linebacker Jayrone Elliott, offensive lineman Derwin Gray, defensive end Henry Mondeaux and running back Wendell Smallwood.
This season, NFL teams can protect four players per week from being signed elsewhere. Without Riley, the Steelers’ practice squad stands at 15 members and they can add one player at any time. Two players can be promoted from the practice squad to the active roster each game day. The Steelers did not add any players before Monday’s opener against the New York Giants.
Steelers Place OL Stefen Wisniewski on IR; Promote Derwin Gray from Practice Squad
The Steelers have placed offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski on the injured reserve list and promoted offensive lineman Derwin Gray from their practice squad, the team announced on Friday.
Wisniewski suffered a pectoral injury late in the Steelers’ 26-16 season-opening win over the New York Giants on Monday and did not return. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he would “leave the light on” for Wisniewski to play this week, but he did not practice in any of the team’s three sessions in advance of Sunday’s home opener against the Denver Broncos.
Wisniewski started in place of David DeCastro on Monday. DeCastro, who has been out with a knee injury since the second week of training camp, has also been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Rookie Kevin Dotson is expected to start at right guard.
For the 2020 season, the NFL has added significant flexibility when it comes to the rules surrounding the injured reserve. Wisniewski will have to miss at least three weeks’ worth of games and practices while on the IR. At that point, the Steelers could return him to practicing with the team and would have another three weeks to decide whether they want to add him back to the active roster or remain on reserve for the remainder of the season. There is no maximum number of players that can return from IR this season.
The Steelers signed Wisniewski, a Central Catholic and Penn State alum, as an unrestricted free agent from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, hoping to use him as a swing backup between center and guard in the fashion the team had used B.J. Finney in recent years. Wisniewski signed a two-year, $2.85 million contract with the Steelers.
Gray, 25, was the Steelers’ seventh-round draft pick out of Maryland in 2019. He did not make the team out of training camp last season, spent all of 2019 on the practice squad and then re-signed a reserve/future contract for 2020 in December. He was released once again on Sept. 5 of this year and added to the practice squad the next day. A tackle in college, Gray has played mostly guard in his time with the Steelers.
Wisniewski is the second Steelers player and second offensive lineman to be placed on injured reserve following the season opener. The Steelers placed right tackle Zach Banner on the reserve list on Wednesday.
Steelers Sign S John Battle to Practice Squad
The Steelers have signed safety John Battle to their practice squad, the team announced on Friday.
Battle, 25, originally signed with the Steelers on a reserve/future contract in January and spent the entire offseason with the squad before being released at the end of training camp earlier this month.
The Steelers had an open spot on their practice squad after the Arizona Cardinals signed away safety Curtis Riley on Wednesday.
Before joining the Steelers, Battle spent training camp with the New York Jets in 2019 after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. In 38 games with the Tigers, Battle recorded 143 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five interceptions, forced two fumbles and defended 11 passes.
Steelers Place Zach Banner on IR, Sign Jerald Hawkins
The Steelers have officially placed tackle Zach Banner on the injured reserve list and signed tackle Jerald Hawkins.
Hawkins, 26, was the Steelers’ fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and played five games for the team, including one start in three seasons. He missed the entire 2018 season with a quad injury and was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers along with a 2021 seventh-round pick for a 2021 sixth-round draft pick on the eve of the 2019 season. He signed with the Texans this offseason and was waived on Sept. 5 in the team’s final cuts.
With the two moves, the Steelers roster remains at 53 players.