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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Get Key Safety Back from Injured Reserve



Steelers DB Elijah Riley
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Elijah Riley and linebacker Mykal Walker against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 19, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reinstated free safety Elijah Riley from the injured reserve list, the team announced on Friday.

Riley has been on the injured reserve list for the minimum of four weeks after suffered a high ankle sprain against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 19. 

Riley suffered the injury in the third quarter of the game against the Browns and did not return. He was replaced as the team’s Dime defensive back by a combination of safety Miles Killebrew and cornerback James Pierre. Riley plays safety, slot cornerback and special teams for the Steelers, and he was into the mix on defense thanks to that team already dealing with injuries to starting safeties Minkah Fitzpatrick and Keanu Neal.

The situation he’s returning to this week is even more dire, as Damontae Kazee has now been suspended for the entire 2023 regular season and strong safety Trenton Thompson will miss this week’s game with a neck stinger.

That means that Riley and Miles Killebrew are the only healthy safeties on the 53-man roster. The Steelers are getting some help at the position, as Patrick Peterson will move from cornerback to free safety to start there and Eric Rowe has been elevated from the practice squad to start at the other spot.

Riley will be the third safety and slot defender, as well as playing special teams, where has excelled. In 10 games this season, he has nine tackles, two tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one sack.

A West Point alum, Riley spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets in 2020 and 2021 before joining the Steelers in 2022. He has played 27 career games, 14 in Pittsburgh. Riley has 59 career tackles, five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, two sacks and one pass defended.

The Steelers had two vacancies on their 53-man roster, one from Kazee’s suspension and another when running back Anthony McFarland Jr. was released on Thursday. In addition to reinstating Riley, the Steelers promoted outside linebacker Kyron Williams from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.