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Steelers Transactions

Former Steelers Safety Signs with USFL Team



Steelers S Kenny Robinson
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Kenny Robinson at training camp on July 30, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety and Pittsburgh native Kenny Robinson has signed a contract to play in the USFL in 2024.

Robinson, 24, was with the Steelers throughout all of the 2023 offseason. He signed with the team on Jan. 11 and was released as part of the final cuts after training camp on Aug. 28.

Robinson quickly became an essential piece of depth early in training camp, as the Steelers dealt with the absence of Minkah Fitzpatrick and injuries to Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal and Tre Norwood, leaving Robinson as a starting safety for several works.

He also got plenty of opportunities in the preseason, playing in 97 snaps of defense over three weeks and another 34 on special teams per PFF. He finished with 13 tackles in all situations and recovered a fumble in the finale against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Robison had been battling Miles Killebrew, Norwood and Trenton Thompson to be the Steelers’ No. 4 safety. Killebrew won the job, with Thompson securing a practice squad spot.

With the team currently dealing with injuries to Fitzpatrick, Neal and Elijah Riley, Thompson has started the last two weeks.

But the Steelers didn’t bring Robinson back to their practice squad, even with the roster crunch, instead signing fellow training camp safety Jalen Elliott over the last few weeks.

An Imani Christian alum, Robinson attended college at West Virginia. With at the Mountaineers, Robinson burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2017. He played in all 13 games, starting eight, and racked up 46 tackles and three interceptions, tied for the team lead. His highlight of the season came against Texas when he returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown. He was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 defensive back following the season.

In 2018, Robinson started 12 games at safety and his production improved across the board. He was second on the team with 77 tackles and second in the Big 12 with four interceptions. His best game came against Texas Tech when he intercepted two passes and made a career-high eight tackles. He was named to the All-Big 12 First Team as a defensive back. 

He got his pro start with five XFL games in 2020, playing for the St. Louis BattleHawks. He had 19 tackles and earned a 62.4 overall grade from PFF. He was solid in pass coverage with a 56.3 passer rating against, but got dinged for his run stopping.

He was drafted into the NFL by the Carolina Panthers. As a rookie with the Panthers that fall, he played primarily on special teams. Robinson earned a bigger role in 2021, playing 182 snaps of defense. He had 17 tackles, 12 of which came on defense. Robinson was targeted just one in pass coverage, giving up a 12-yard touchdown against the New Orleans Saints.

In 2022, he spent the entire season on Carolina’s practice squad without appearing in any games. The Panthers fired head coach Matt Rhule just five games into the 2022 regular season.

Now Robinson will return to spring pro football. He signed a deal with the Birmingham Stallions, one of four USFL teams expected to survive the USFL-XFL merger. The Stallions are the defending USFL champions.