The Steelers are signing veteran inside linebacker Blake Martinez off the Carolina Panthers practice squad and to their 53-man roster, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Martinez was recently un-retired after retiring last November, and he joined the Panthers’ practice squad after a tryout on November 6th. Martinez has played all over the NFL, but he spent his most productive years in New York with the Giants and in Green Bay with the Packers.
He is their second inside linebacker addition of the week, with former Steelers linebacker Myles Jack returning to the team’s practice squad. Mykal Walker signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in October and started against the Browns, racking up four tackles in impressive fashion. The Steelers seem comfortable with him and Elandon Roberts but are building out their room in case more injuries occur. Pittsburgh still has Tariq Carpenter, Tyler Murray, and Jack on the practice squad to help in addition to the four on the main roster.
That means Martinez is likely coming to the Steelers in a backup capacity, but he has impressed in recent years with tackle numbers. Over his career, he has four 100 or more tackle seasons, and 706 career tackles. His last came in 2020 with the Giants, where Martinez posted 151 tackles, but he has played just seven games in the previous two years with the Giants and Raiders. A 2016 fourth-round pick out of Stanford, Martinez had productive years for the Packers, too, and boasts 78 games of starting experience in his entire career.
When he retired, Martinez owned a lucrative Pokemon card business. But he was banned from the online marketplace in August after there were complaints about his business ‘Blake’s Breaks’ and the wrongdoings his company did, including never shipping some of the cards bought. With Martinez now back in the NFL and in the fold for Pittsburgh, he will likely be asked to do plenty of special teams work while Walker and Roberts start at linebacker.