The Steelers have released cornerback Kalon Barnes from their practice squad, the team announced on Tuesday. Barnes joined the team’s practice squad back on September 15th. He remained with the team since then, working on the team’s practice squad. However, after Simi Fehoko got nabbed off the team’s practice squad this week, they may need to add more help to their receivers’ room despite Deuce Watts and Jacob Copeland already being on the practice squad.
Barnes, 24, is a 6-foot, 186-pound cornerback out of Baylor who was a seventh-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2022. Barnes ran a 4.23-second 40-yard dash at the 2022 combine, the second-fastest time since electronic timing was introduced in 1999 and fasted ever for a defensive player. Wide receiver John Ross ran a 4.22-second 40 in 2017.
A Silsbee, Texas native, Barnes started as a wide receiver before transitioning to cornerback at Baylor. Barnes was a late bloomer with the Bears, earning a playing role right away but not a starter’s job until his senior season in 2021.
Barnes played a total of 41 games in Waco, finishing with 53 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack, three interceptions, one forced fumble and 17 passes defended.
The Panthers drafted Barnes late in 2022, but he did not make their initial 53-man roster. He signed with the Miami Dolphins practice squad, and was then poached from that unit by the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 14.
He played nine snaps for Minnesota in two of the season’s last three games, all of which came on special teams. Barnes was cut by the Vikings coming out of training camp this August and has not signed with another team since. The Steelers have Luq Barcoo remaining on the practice squad as a cornerback, and Trenton Thompson joins him among the defensive backs. The team has seven cornerbacks on the active roster.