All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2021 offseason roster.
41 • Robert Spillane, third-year inside linebacker
6-foot-1, 229 pounds
Acquired: Signed as a street free agent by the Steelers on Feb. 8, 2019.
Last season: Spillane made the team as an expected special teams contributor, but after injures to Ulysees Gilbert III and Devin 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.
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.
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: After spending most of 2020 at the Steelers’ Mack inside linebacker position replacing Bush, Spillane will likely move to the Buck position in 2021 to play alongside Bush in a time share with Vince Williams.
The more-physical, less-athletically demanding position should be better suited to Spillane’s strengths, and he should be able to show more of the power that allowed him to stand up Derrick Henry in the hole at Tennessee and be less picked on like he was by the Cleveland Browns’ wide receivers in the postseason.
Future: Spillane will be a restricted free agent after the 2021 season.
The rest of the 90: