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Elandon Roberts Touches on Adversity Steelers LB Corps Faced in 2023



Steelers LB Elandon Roberts

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ linebackers corps was decimated with injuries this past season, but Elandon Roberts was a mainstay for the unit through all the turmoil.

Roberts had to battle through a pectoral injury late in the year, but the eight-year veteran only missed the Week 17 game before returning for the Steelers’ season finale against Baltimore, though he was limited to just 39 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

“I am not going to leave my guys hanging,” Roberts said to Teresa Varley of “If I can go, I am going to go. I am going to try my hardest. I won’t go if I am going to put my team in jeopardy, but I am going to go if I have good faith that I am good enough to get the job done for my teammates.”

Cole Holcomb suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans. Then, in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers, Kwon Alexander went down with a torn Achilles, which sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Robert was able to hold the fort down with solid play, but it certainly was a challenge.

“It hit our position group,” Roberts said. “I just feel like my injury was bumps and bruises. That is everybody. You get little nicks. But I think the guys in the inside backer room made a good effort to establish what we could in the later part of the season.”

Roberts recorded a team-high 101 tackles, 68 of them solo stops, 10 tackles for a loss, two and a half sacks and two passes defensed in 2023.

Before Roberts’ injury, the team tried Blake Martinez, Mark Robinson, and Mykal Walker at the position alongside him, with little success, before giving Myles Jack a chance after the former Steelers linebacker came out of retirement to re-join the team.

Roberts is expected to start opposite of second-team All-Pro Patrick Queen at inside linebacker this season. Queen was swipped from AFC North rival the Baltimore Ravens in free agency. He signed a three-year, $41 million deal. It’s the largest free-agent signing in Steelers’ history by almost $5 million annually.

Holcomb’s season-ending knee injury required surgery. He posted a video of himself working out earlier last month and it seems that he is improving. But Mike Tomlin said at the NFL owner’s meetings that he still does not have a definitive update on him.

“He just had a checkup a few weeks back and it was a favorable one, but I don’t have any details about calendar from a calendar perspective or levels of availability and when I still think we are decent ways out and I’d be speculating,” Tomlin said.

Alexander is also back working out, but he is an unsigned free agent as of right now. If Holcomb’s knee is an issue or an injury at the position happens during the season, the Steelers could re-sign Alexander, pending on how his recovery goes.