The Steelers have activated guard Kevin Dotson and defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs from the COVID-19 reserve list, signed kicker Matthew Wright to the practice squad and will activate safety Antoine Brooks, Jr. from the practice squad for Tuesday’s game with the Baltimore Ravens.
Dotson was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Nov. 14 and missed the team’s Week 11 game with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Buggs was placed on the list on Saturday along with defensive end Stephon Tuitt and offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins.
Hawkins and Tuitt will miss Tuesday’s game, along with running back James Conner, special teams coordinator Danny Smith and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada.
Dotson, a fourth-round rookie from Louisiana, has been a valuable back up for guards David DeCastro and Matt Feiler this season.
Buggs help replace Tuitt, along with Chris Wormley and Henry Mondeaux. He’s filled in at both end and nose tackle at times in this, his second season.
Brooks has played in two games this season as an activated practice squad members, dressing in Week 9 against Dallas and Week 10 against Cincinnati. He record two tackles in that game and also got his first snaps on defense after playing just special teams against the Cowboys.
Wright spent the 2019 offseason with the Steelers and was expected to be legitimate competition for incumbent Chris Boswell with Boswell coming off a poor 2018 season. Boswell re-established himself and Wright was cut at the outset of training camp.
The Steelers have had Wright in for a visit in consecutive weeks, an effort to keep him in the testing protocol in case the team had an issue with Boswell’s availability, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Sunday. His signing fills the Steelers’ practice squad with 16 members.
The Steelers have also kept an extra punter on the practice squad all season in rookie Corliss Waitman.
Steelers Let Contracts of Five Practice Squad Players, Including QB Devlin Hodges, Expire
The Steelers let the contracts of five members of their 2020 practice squad expire on Monday, including former starting quarterback Devlin Hodges.
Hodges, wide receiver Deon Cain, tight end Charles Jones, running back Wendell Smallwood and kicker Matthew Wright all had their contracts lapse.
Four of the five players saw playing time with the Steelers at some point in the last two seasons, most notably Hodges, who started six games and played in eight in 2019.
Filling after injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph, Hodges threw for 1,063 yards while completing 62.5% of his passes. He threw for five touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 71.4 quarterback rating. The Steelers went 3-3 in games Hodges started.
After the Steelers re-acquired Josh Dobbs in the 2020 offseason, Hodges was bumped to fourth on the team’s depth chart and was not activated at any point during the 2020 season.
Wright filled in three times for injured Steelers kicker Chris Boswell this season, making seven of seven extra points and all four field goals, including three in the team’s Week 17 loss at Cleveland.
Cain played in two games as a practice squad recall this season without a target after spending six games in Pittsburgh — including three starts — in 2019, when he caught five of six passes for 72 yards.
Smallwood, a West Virginia alum, signed with the team as a free agent this offseason and was activated from the practice squad for one games, playing just two snaps on special teams.
Jones joined the team’s practice squad midseason after previously spending time with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
The players’ contracts expiring do not preclude them from re-singing with the Steelers for 2021. The Steelers have signed 15 players to futures contracts for the 2021 season since the team’s 2020 season ended.
Steelers Re-Sign RB Trey Edmunds, OL Jarron Jones to Future Contracts
The Steelers have re-signed running back Trey Edmunds and offensive lineman Jarron Jones to a reserve/future contracts for the 2021 season, the team announced on Friday.
Edmunds’ singing comes just three days after the Steelers waived him. The team removed Edmunds from the injured reserve list on Tuesday and put him through waivers. He would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season, but clearing waivers made him a street free agent and eligible to be re-signed to a future contract.
Edmunds, 26, just finished his third season with the team. He appeared in four games, playing mostly on special teams, before suffering a hamstring injury in the team’s Week 10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals that caused him to spend the rest of the season on the injured reserve list.
In 2019, Edmunds saw his most extensive playing time, and carried 22 times for 92 yards for a 4.2 yards per carry average while also racking up six tackles and an interception on special teams.
Edmunds was waived by the Steelers earlier in the 2020 season, but was re-signed by the club on Nov. 10.
A 6-foot-2, 223-pound running back out of Maryland, Edmunds spent his rookie season in 2017 with the New Orleans Saints before catching on in Pittsburgh. He is the older brother of Steelers strong safety Terrell Edmunds.
Jones spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad, and then the practice squad injured reserve after suffering an injury late in the season. The Steelers originally signed Jones in April after he spent time with the New York Guardians of the XFL. The Steelers released the Notre Dame alum at the outset of training camp and signed him to the practice squad.
In October, Jones was arrested and charged with two felonies after police responded to a call for domestic disturbance at a home in the city’s Crawford-Roberts neighborhood. Jones allegedly strangled his girlfriend, hit her and the face and struck her with a gaming console, police allege.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for April 13 in front of magistrate Kim Berkeley Clark after being postponed twice.
Steelers Sign 13 to Reserve/Future Contracts
The Steelers have signed 13 players to reserve/future contracts for the 2021 season, the team announced on Thursday.
Safety John Battle, defensive tackle Demarcus Christmas, guard/tackle Anthony Coyle, wide receiver Anthony Johnson, outside linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz, offensive tackle John Leglue, tight end Kevin Rader, inside linebacker Tegray Scales, defensive end Calvin Taylor, punter Corliss Waitman, offensive tackle Brandon Walton, cornerback Trevor Williams and wide receiver Cody White were all re-signed for the 2021 season.
All 13 players had been on the Steelers’ practice squad during the 2020 season.
Battle, who just finished his second professional season out of LSU, spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad after originally joining the team on a futures contract last January.
Christmas is a former sixth-round draft pick (2019) of Seattle that was released by the Seahawks on Oct. 6. The Steelers signed him to the practice squad Nov. 7, where he remained for the rest of the season.
Coyle just finished his third pro season out of Fordham. He joined the Steelers in the spring of 2020 after a stint in the XFL. He spent most of the season on the practice squad but was promoted to the active roster twice, against Baltimore in Week 12 and against Cleveland in Week 17. He did not appear in either game.
Johnson signed with the Steelers last January on a future contract after spending his first pro season in Tampa Bay and with the Los Angeles Chargers. He was injured in training camp, given an injury settlement and then re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 26.
Kuntz, a Duquesne and Chartiers Valley alum, spent his second season with the Steelers. The fourth-year pro also has spent time with the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. Kuntz was with the Steelers in training camp in 2019, played with the Dallas Renegades in the XFL in 2020, then re-joined the Steelers in March. He was cut on Aug. 2, then re-signed to the practice squad on Nov. 24, released Dec. 23, re-signed Dec. 29 and released again on Jan. 6.
Leglue, a second-year pro out of Tulane, was a late addition to the Steelers’ practice squad, signing with the team on Dec. 29 after spending training camp this year with the Green Bay Packers.
Rader, a Youngstown State and Pine-Richland grad, just finished his second season with the Steelers and third in the NFL. He spent almost the entire 2019 season on the practice squad and this season was elevated to the active roster for the regular season finale against Cleveland and the Wild Card game. At Cleveland, he made three special teams tackles.
Scales joined the team mid-season after spending training camp with the club in 2019 and playing with the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in the spring of 2020. He was added to the practice squad on Nov. 11 and elevated to the active roster on Dec. 13. Scales played in four games, primarily on special teams, without recording any statistics.
Taylor, a rookie free agent from Kentucky, spent the entire 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad.
Waitman, a rookie free agent from South Alabama, also spent the entire season on the practice squad.
Walton, a Florida Atlantic grad, was originally with the Buffalo Bills as a rookie free agent, but joined the Steelers practice squad on Sept. 19 and remained there the rest of the season.
White joined the Steelers practice squad just after training camp ended on Sept. 24. He was with the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Giants earlier in the offseason, his first in the pro ranks out of Michigan State.
Williams was the last addition to the Steelers before the end of the season, signing with the practice squad on Jan. 6. In his fifth pro season in 2020, he also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and Jacksonville Jaguars. Williams was with the Arizona Cardinals in 2019 and spent three seasons with the Chargers after going undrafted out of Penn State.
Six players that ended the 2020 season on the Steelers practice squad were not re-signed for 2021: wide receiver Deon Cain, quarterback Devlin Hodges, tight end Charles Jones, guard/tackle Jarron Jones, running back Wendell Smallwood and kicker Matthew Wright.