The Pittsburgh Steelers are elevating safety Eric Rowe from the practice for Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Friday. Rowe will be elevated for the third and final time this regular season.
There’s still some uncertainty around the Steelers safety position this week, as free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and strong safety Trenton Thompson have both been listed as questionable by the team. Fitzpatrick returned to practice this week after missing two games with a knee injury. Thompson said he was not expecting to be cleared this week to return from his neck injury. Damontae Kazee is out this week, as well, after being suspended by the NFL for his hit on Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman.
Those absences opened the door for Rowe, who started each of the last two games. He recorded seven tackles, one pass defended and an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals and 10 tackles and a tackle for loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
With the Steelers getting Kazee back for a potential Wild Card game, it seems unlikely they will need to use Rowe going into the playoffs unless they suffer further injury. There is no maximum number of practice squad elevations in the postseason.
Rowe, 31, has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins since coming into the league as a second-round pick of the Eagles out of Utah in 2015. A 6-foot-1, 205-pound defensive back, Rowe has split his career playing time equally between outside cornerback, slot cornerback and strong safety, while also spending time at free safety and linebacker.
Last season with the Miami Dolphins, he played 248 snaps at strong safety, 188 as a slot corner, 30 as a linebacker, 57 as a free safety and 44 as an outside corner.
In his eight-year NFL career, Rowe has played in 100 games and made 56 starts. He has recorded 381 tackles, 41 passes defended, seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two sacks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
He won Super Bowls LI and LIII with the New England Patriots and has been a multi-year teammate of Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts. That relationship goes back and will make Rowe comfortable in the locker room to start.