In the wake of Minkah Fitzpatrick’s hamstring injury, the Steelers hosted four safeties for workouts on Friday. They hosted safeties Keidron Smith, Tyler Coyle, Tyree Gillespie, and Nico Bolden for the activities, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston.
Smith is a rookie out of Kentucky. He went to the NFLPA Bowl this year, and the Steelers met with him there. The 6-foot-2 Smith not only stood out all week at the NFLPA Bowl, but earned an invite up to the Senior Bowl the following week as a result. He was a Second-Team All-SEC selection and racked up 269 tackles, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles, and 25 pass breakups. Smith has the versatility that Pittsburgh could covet. He started his career with the Miami Dolphins, but they cut him shortly after that. The Commanders snapped him up onto their practice squad but the team released him from the practice squad on October 9th.
Coyle comes out of Connecticut, where the now-veteran defensive back earned honors in 2018. He led the Huskies with 108 tackles and forced a fumble. In his Sophomore season, he picked off two passes. During his last season with UConn in 2019, Coyle made 86 tackles, broke up 11 passes, forced two fumbles, and grabbed an interception. Coyle would then transfer up to Purdue but only played three games there. He is a playmaker who has been around the NFL, joining the Dallas Cowboys in 2021 and staying with them through training camp this year, where they released him.
Bolden will give the Steelers a flair of the MAC, which they seem to love so much. He played at Kent State after transferring in from New Mexico following the 2020 season. With the Golden Flashes, Bolden started 23 games, posting two interceptions, 188 tackles, two forced fumbles, and 3.5 tackles for loss over two seasons. To begin his career, Bolden went undrafted but joined the Carolina Panthers for training camp. They released him, and he has not found a team since then.
Gillespie is the most intriguing name on this list. A 2021 fourth-round pick out of Missouri, Gillespie has already made a tour of the NFL, starting with the Las Vegas Raiders for his rookies season. After not completing the team in 2022, he joined the Titans. In 2023, he has stints with both the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans released Gillespie on September 1st, and he has not found a team since then. He has just eight tackles in his career, all coming during his rookie season with the Raiders. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash coming out in the 2021 draft.
Pittsburgh has Damontae Kazee, Elijah Riley, Miles Killebrew, and Keanu Neal on the active roster, with Fitzpatrick injured. In addition, they have Trenton Thompson and Jalen Elliott on the practice squad to provide some support. This could simply be the team looking to update their list of guys for future practice squad moves, but it is something to watch early next week as the team will look to shake up the practice squad at times when injuries could pile up.