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Steelers Made Waiver Claim on Former NYJ, Clemson TE Jordan Leggett

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The Steelers put in a waiver claim on former New York tight end Jordan Leggett this week, only to lose out to a better claim by the Tampa Bay Buccanneers.

Five times placed a claim on Leggett, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end out of Clemson that New York selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Leggett missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, but bounced back in 2018 to make four starts. He finished with 14 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Field Yates of ESPN reported that the Steelers, Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans all placed claims after the Jets unexpectedly cut Leggett on Monday. Tampa Bay won the claim because the Bucs had the worst record of the five teams during the 2018 season.

The Steelers were reportedly interested in Leggett coming out of Clemson, and made the move to try to secure another tight end with experience for training camp. Fifth-round draft pick Zach Gentry and first-year players Kevin Rader and Christian Scotland-Williamson are the team’s only options behind returning starter Vance McDonald and backup Xavier Grimble.

The number of claims and the relatively successful teams like the Packers and Steelers making claims will certainly bring skepticism to the decision-making process for Jets coach Adam Gase, who has come under fire before ever coaching a game.
Gase also fired longtime scout Bill Duracker on Tuesday as he continues to consolidate his power within the club after coming out on top of a struggle with former general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was fired on May 15.

Speaking with NFL.com on Monday, Gase disputed that characterization.

“I disagree with that, as far as a power struggle,” Gase said. “Because whoever is getting hired is going to have the same role — control of the roster. I will coach the football team. That’s what I’m going to do. Nothing is changing in that structure.”

Gates was fired on Dec. 31 after a 23-25 record over three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Maccagnan hired Gase on Jan. 11.

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Steelers Activate Vance McDonald, Make Roster Moves

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have activated tight end Vance McDonald off of the Reserve/COVID-19 list, one of multiple roster moves made Tuesday.

McDonald had been sidelined since Nov. 10, testing positive for the virus a day after Pittsburgh’s win in Dallas. He has nine catches for 61 yards on the year.

The Steelers also signed tight end Kevin Rader to active roster and added long snapper and linebacker Christian Kuntz to the team’s practice squad.

Both Pittsburgh natives, Rader attended Pine Richland, while Kuntz is a Chartiers Valley product who played his college ball at Duquesne.

Rader was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State by the Green Bay Packers in 2018, but has spent this season and last on the Steelers’ practice squad.

Kuntz has spent training camp with Pittsburgh the last two seasons, but has also seen time with the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. He had a tryout with the Steelers last week.

Lastly, Pittsburgh placed tight end Zach Gentry on the Reserve/Injured list. He suffered a left knee sprain early in Pittsburgh’s victory over the Jaguars last weekend. He had seen action in just two games this season, and has one career reception.

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Steelers Workout Trio of Specialists Wednesday

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The Pittsburgh Steelers worked out a trio of specialists on Wednesday – long snapper and linebacker Christian Kuntz, punter Branden Wright and kicker Matthew Wright.

Kuntz has spent practice squad and offseason time with five clubs over his career, including Pittsburgh twice over the last two seasons. He was waived on Aug. 2 after spending training camp with the Steelers earlier this year.

A local product, Kuntz attended Chartiers Valley and played his college ball at Duquesne. He also played for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in 2019.

Matthew Wright signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft and spent training camp with Pittsburgh two seasons ago, but did not make the final 53-man roster.

Wright made 55 of 71 field goals over four seasons in Orlando. He also hit 210 of 213 extra points during his collegiate career.

A rookie out of Georgia State, Brandon Wright originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent. He handled punting and kicking duties for the Panthers, averaging 43.3 yards a punt for his career and making 32 of 54 field goals.

After starting the season on the Jaguars’ practice squad, he was elevated to the active roster against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 to replace injured kicker Josh Lambo. He hit two extra points, but injured his groin and was waived off injured reserve a few days later.

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Steelers Sign TE Charles Jones to Practice Squad, Release LB Ryan Wilborn

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed tight end Charles Jones to their practice squad and released linebacker Ryan Wilborn, the team announced Tuesday.

Undrafted out of Tulane in 2019, Jones signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He began the season as a member of the practice squad, but was promoted to the active roster and appeared in four games.

Jones began the 2020 season with Jacksonville as well, but was waived in September. He was also briefly a member of the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad earlier this season.

Jones caught 61 passes for 460 yards and eight touchdowns for the Green Wave over four seasons.

Wilborn was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad back on Oct. 23. A rookie that went undrafted out of Ball State, he initially signing with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent this offseason.

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