The Steelers have activated running back Jaylen Samuels from the COVID-19 Reserve List, putting the team at full strength for the first time in 2020 training camp.
Samuels was placed on the COVID-19 Reserve List, which is for players that have either tested positive or have been exposed to a positive case and must isolate, on Aug. 2.
Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner said on Wednesday that he had been in constant contact with Samuels throughout his absence.
“I talk to him daily,” Faulkner said. “First of all, my most important concern is his wellbeing. Secondly, to make sure he is up to speed. As far as meetings and what we have talked about and plays going in that day. He does have the advantage of going into his third year so he has done most of these things and everything will resonate with him once he hears it. he is just going to have to go out, when he does show up, hit the ground running.”
Samuels rushed 66 times for 175 yards in his second pro season in 2019, with his 2.7 yards per carry average representing a big drop from the 4.6 mark he posted as a rookie and coming in last in the Steelers backfield rotation.
With Samuels out, the Steelers have utilized second-year backs Benny Snell and Kerrith Whyte, rookie Anthony McFarland, and veterans Trey Edmunds and Wendell Smallwood.
In order to make room for Samuels on the 80-man roster, the Steelers released fullback Spencer Nigh. Nigh, 23, was signed by the Steelers as a rookie free agent out of Auburn after going undrafted. Nigh had been behind presumptive starter Derek Watt at fullback.
Steelers Sign DE Calvin Taylor to Practice Squad, Release CB Trajan Bandy
The Steelers have signed defensive end Calvin Taylor to their practice squad and released defensive back Trajan Bandy, the team announced on Friday.
Taylor, a 6-foot-7 rookie from Kentucky, spent the entire offseason with the Steelers after singing with the team an an undrafted free agent in April, but was released after training camp.
He’ll add practice depth for the Steelers at defensive end to go along with second-year practice squad player Henry Mondeaux.
The Steelers have just six active defensive linemen: nose tackles Tyson Alualu and Carlos Davis, defensive tackles Cameron Heyward and Chris Wormley and defensive ends Isaiah Buggs and Stephon Tuitt.
Bandy, a rookie free agent out of Miami, was a player that many had high hopes for after leaving the Hurricanes a year early to enter the NFL, but he could not find a spot on the Steelers’ 53-man roster, losing out to James Pierre for the final cornerback spot. Bandy had been the only cornerback on the Steelers’ practice squad.
Steelers Sign former Michigan State WR Cody White to Practice Squad
The Steelers have signed wide receiver Cody White to their practice squad, the team announced on Thursday.
White worked out for the team in a try out on Tuesday. He had also tried out with the Steelers once before in August.
A 6-foot-3, 215-pound receiver from Novi, Michigan, White left Michigan State after his junior season to pursue an NFL career. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent, but was waived with a non-football injury in July.
He was then signed by the New York Giants, but waived during training camp. That’s when he worked out for the Steelers the first time. He then signed with the Denver Broncos on Aug. 23, but was waived at the outset of training camp on Sept. 5.
In three seasons at Michigan State, White caught 143 passes for 1,967 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a junior in 2019, he had 66 catches for 922 yards and six scores to lead the Spartans in all three categories.
White will fill the Steelers’ practice squad after nose tackle Daniel McCullers elected to terminate his contract and join the Chicago Bears earlier this week.
He’ll help a wide receiver corps that has been reduced in practice by nagging injuries to Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster that has caused both players to miss Wednesday’s practice in consecutive weeks.
Former Steelers NT Dan McCullers Signs with Chicago Bears
Former Steelers defensive tackle Daniel McCullers has found new employment, agreeing on Thursday to a contract with the Chicago Bears, according to multiple reports.
McCullers’ agreement with the Bears was first reported by Joe Rutter of the Tribune-Review.
McCullers, 28, terminated his practice squad contract with the Steelers earlier in the week. He was the Steelers’ sixth-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and had spent the previous six seasons with the team, playing in 73 and making three starts while amassing 41 career tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-7, 352-pound nose tackle was a somewhat surprising cut for the Steelers after training camp this season, losing his spot on the 53-man roster to rookie Carlos Davis.
The Bears added McCullers after defensive tackle John Jenkins suffered a thumb injury. The Steelers are not scheduled to play the Bears this season.