TAMPA, Fla. — Steelers inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their first preseason game, head coach Mike Tomlin revealed after the game’s conclusion.
The injury occurred while Kwiatkoski was diving for a ball up the seam when he collided with a Steelers safety. It is unclear if the collision caused the injury or if Kwiatkoski’s arm overextended as he laid out for the ball. That injury is being evaluated, but Kwiatkoski had a solid day and could be making a push for a roster spot if the injury is not too serious.
Kwiatkoski, 30, is a Pittsburgh native. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound linebacker has played seven NFL seasons since joining the Chicago Bears in fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Kwiatkoski played in 57 games and made 22 starts over four seasons with Chicago, playing inside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4 scheme. He had his most productive season in 2019, when he made eight starts, and recorded career highs with 76 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks.
He parlayed that season into a three-year, $21 million free agent contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. In Vegas, Kwiatkoski started 12 games in 2020, recording 81 tackles, three for a loss and one sack.
In 2021, injuries limited him to eight games and he finished the season on the injured reserve list. The Raiders released Kwiatkoski last spring, and he caught on with the Atlanta Falcons, where he played 12 games, exclusively on special teams, and made seven tackles.
Before his pro career, Kwiatkoski played 48 games and made 37 starts over five seasons for West Virginia from 2011-15. Kwiatkoski joins others on the injury list from the game, including Duke Dawson (knee), Chapelle Russell (knee), and Keeanu Benton (ankle). There are other players, such as Larry Ogunjobi (undisclosed), Joey Porter Jr. (left ankle), Keanu Neal (undisclosed), Tre Norwood (right calf), and Damontae Kazee (left ankle) who missed the game due to various ailments.
Alan Saunders contributed reporting from Tampa.