Steelers linebacker TJ Watt leads the defense during their final practice before plating the divisional rival Ravens. Running back James Conner also works on his burst.
Footage courtesy Pittsburgh Steelers
Steelers Host Three for Tryout, Including former Penn State DE Shareef Miller
The Steelers agreed to host three players for tryout on Thursday, according to the NFL transactions page, including potential backups at three positions impacted by COVID-19 reserve list and injury-related absences, as the the team hosted offensive tackle Cody Conway, defensive end Shareef Miller and center Zach Shackelford.
Conway (6-foot-6, 307 pounds) is a second-year pro out of Syracuse that has spent time with the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and most recently the San Francisco 49ers, who released Conway from their practice squad on Oct. 27. He has never played in an NFL game.
The Steelers played without backup tackle Jerald Hawkins on Wednesday and activated Anthony Coyle from the practice squad, but when starting right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor was briefly injured, Matt Feiler shifted to tackle and was replaced by Kevin Dotson at left guard.
Miller (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) is a second-year pro out of Penn State. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019 NFL Draft, but was waived before the start of the 2020 season after playing just two snaps in his rookie season. Miller was claimed on waivers by the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 6, but waived once again a month later without playing a game. The Eagles then brought Miller back to their practice squad, but released him on Dec. 1.
A defensive end in the 4-3 alignment at Penn State, Miller likely projects to be an outside linebacker in the Steelers’ scheme, where he could help offset the loss of starter Bud Dupree, who was placed on the injured reserve list with an ACL injury on Thursday.
Shackelford (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) is a rookie out of Texas. He spent the offseason with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was waived at the end of the training camp. With Maurkice Pouncey on the COVID-19 reserve list, the Steelers have just one natural center on their roster at the moment in Wednesday night’s starter J.C. Hassenauer.
Steelers Can Clinch Playoff Berth With Win, Division Title With Help on Monday
The Pittsburgh Steelers can clinch a playoff spot and possibly the AFC North title this Monday against Washington.
The 11-0 Steelers will clinch at least a playoff berth with a win or tie or a Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins or Indianapolis Colts loss or tie.
All of those games will take place on Sunday, as Las Vegas plays at the New York Jets, Miami will host the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis visits the Houston Texans.
The Steelers can clinch an AFC North title with a win, a Cleveland Browns loss and by clinching the strength of victory tiebreaker over the Browns. The Steelers currently have a .412 strength of victory, while the Browns have a .306 strength of victory, which is the combine winning percentage of all the teams a team has beaten. The Browns play at the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
The Steelers have missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the second time this century. They have not missed the playoffs for three consecutive seasons since 1998-2000 under Bill Cowher.
The Steelers last won the AFC North in 2018. Since the division was formed in 2002, the Steelers have won it eight times, the Baltimore Ravens have won it six times and the Cincinnati Bengals four times.
Steelers DL Cam Heyward Nominated for Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award
Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward is one of the 32 players nominated for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award on Thursday.
Each NFL team nominates one player for the award, which recognizes players who exemplify outstanding sportsmanship on the field.
The award has been given out since 2014 in honor of Steelers founder Art Rooney, Sr. A panel of former players including Pittsburgh native Curtis Martin will select eight finalists from the the 32 nominees and then the NFL players will vote on a winner.
The other nominees from the AFC North are Baltimore defensive end Calais Campbell, Cincinnati linebacker Josh Bynes and Cleveland running back Nick Chubb.
No Steelers player has ever won the award. Washington running back Adrian Peterson won the award in 2019.