The Pittsburgh Steelers have elevated linebacker Kyron Johnson from the practice squad for Sunday’s Week 13 game against the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced on Saturday.
Johnson has been on the Steelers’ practice squad since Oct. 9. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022 and has 16 games of NFL experience, mostly on special teams, which is where he will likely play for the Steelers.
Since the twin injuries to Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb thinned the Steelers’ inside linebacker depth, the Steelers have been using Tariq Carpenter to replace Elandon Roberts’ role on special teams, now that Roberts is playing nearly ever down of defense.
The Steelers elevated Carpenter from the practice squad for game days three times, which is the maximum number of times that he can be elevated without clearing a spot on the 53-man roster.
Johnson has played both inside and outside linebacker in his time in the NFL, and has worked mostly with the outside linebackers since joining the Steelers, though again, his role is expected to come mostly on defense.
With Johnson elevated, veteran linebacker Blake Martinez, who just joined the Steelers two weeks ago, will likely be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive week.
A freak athlete, Johnson ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro day coming out of Kansas. He backed that up with a 39.5-inch vertical jump, showcasing he is both explosive and fast.
His senior year at Kansas was his best, racking 6.5 sacks and 63 tackles. Over his career, he posted 12.5 sacks, 193 tackles, and 22.5 tackles for loss. Kansas embraced Johnson’s versatility but liked him more as an outside linebacker for most of his tenure. When he joined the Eagles last year, Johnson played off-ball outside linebacker in that 4-3 system.
Philadelphia released Johnson from their practice squad early in September after bringing him back following initial cut-downs. During the preseason, Johnson played 33 total snaps, registering two pressures during those snaps as a pass rusher.