CLEVELAND — Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Elijah Riley left his team’s game against the Cleveland Browns early in the second half with an ankle injury and is doubtful to return, the team announced Sunday afternoon.
Riley suffered the ankle injury on the opening defensive possession of the second half, with the Steelers trailing, 10-7.
The fourth-year defensive back started the game as the team’s primary Dime defender. The Steelers are very short at safety, with Keanu Neal placed on the injured reserve list prior to the game with a rib injury and Minkah Fitzpatrick out with a hamstring injury.
Trenton Thompson made his first career start at strong safety alongside veteran Damontae Kazee, with Riley as the third safety for heavy Nickel and Dime packages. Miles Killebrew in the only other safety dressed, though he typically plays special teams.
Slot cornerback Chandon Sullivan is the only other defensive back available to play as the Dime defender. Backup outside cornerback Darius Rush is not dressed for the game.
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 26 career games, 13 in Pittsburgh. Riley has 56 career tackles, five tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, two sacks and one pass defended.
He had previously filled in for Fitzpatrick when he left the Steelers’ Week 2 game against the Browns with an injury. He had one tackle, one tackle for loss, one sack and one quarterback hit in that contest.