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Steelers All 90: Robert Spillane Provides Crucial Insurance at ILB

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Pittsburgh Steelers ILB Robert Spillane

All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2022 offseason roster.

41 • Robert Spillane, fourth-year inside linebacker, Western Michigan
6-foot-1, 229 pounds, 26 years old

Acquired: The Steelers signed Robert Spillane as a street free agent by the Steelers on Feb. 8, 2019.

Last season: Spillane went through most of last offseason looking like one of the team’s starters at inside linebacker, but the mid-preseason acquisition of Joe Schobert via trade pushed him down the depth chart.

Instead, Spillane ended up taking reps from the team’s other inside linebacker, as Devin Bush struggled in his return from ACL injury and Spillane absorbed some of role, especially on third downs.

Spillane played a career-high 14 games and made 56 tackles, also his best mark over a full season.

Career: Spillane signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted rookie in 2018. He was cut at the end of training camp and placed on the practice squad. Spillane was then elevated to the active roster for two games before being placed on waivers on Oct. 29, 2018.

He didn’t catch on with another team until signing with the Steelers the following February. Spillane started the 2019 season on the Steelers’ practice squad, but was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 5 and appeared in eight games, making 11 tackles, primarily on special teams.

In 2020, Spillane made the team as an expected special teams contributor, but after injures to Ulysees Gilbert III and Bush, he ended up being asked to fill a key role as a starting inside linebacker.

Spillane started seven games and appeared in 12, but had his season cut short by an injury of his own. He returned for the playoff game against Cleveland. Spillane finished the season with 45 tackles, four tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, two sacks, four passes defended, a fumble recovery and an interception, which he returned 33 yards for a touchdown.

College: Made 40 starts for Western Michigan, racking up 312 tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, five pass break ups, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was a two-time All-MAC honoree.

Camp outlook: Instead of Bush and Schobert blocking the path to Spillane starting at inside linebacker, it will be Bush and Myles Jack in 2022, with the former brought over from Jacksonville via free agency.

Those two have the potential to be one of the top inside linebacker tandems in the NFL, but have also been inconsistent at times, and Spillane is a trusted hand to turn to if either starter struggles.

Future: Spillane will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2022 season.

The rest of the 90:

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