The Steelers have officially signed wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud and waived wide receiver Saeed Blacknall.
McCloud, 23, was a sixth-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Clemson. The 5-foot-10 wide receiver appeared in 10 games as rookie with Buffalo, making one start and had five catches for 36 yards. He was waived at the outset of the 2019 season and caught on with the Carolina Panthers. He appeared in six games without a target for the Panthers.
In addition to his receiving duties, McCloud worked as both a kick and punt returner at both of his previous NFL stops, with career averages of 7.3 yards per punt return and 21.3 yards per kickoff return.
McCloud had re-signed with the Bills this offseason, but was among their pre-camp releases on July 28.
In three seasons at Clemson, McCloud caught 127 balls for 1,226 yards and four touchdowns and was a three-year teammate of fellow Steelers wide receiver Deon Cain.
The Steelers have not had a dedicated kick returner on their roster since waiving Quadree Henderson at the outset of camp. Diontae Johnson, Ryan Switzer and Kerrith Whyte have experience at those positions.
The Steelers signed Blacknall in April after the Penn State product completed an abbreviated season in the XFL. He last played for the Los Angeles Wildcats, where he caught four passes for 120 yards and two scores.
Blacknall caught 50 passes for 979 yards and seven touchdowns over his Penn State career, before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Oakland Raiders in 2018. He has also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals.
By exchanging Blacknall for McCloud, the Steelers remain at the 80-man roster limit.
Steelers Host P Jordan Berry, LB Ray Wilborn for Free Agent Visits
The Steelers hosted former punter Jordan Berry and linebacker Ray Wilborn for free agent visits on Monday, according to the NFL transactions report.
Berry, 29, was the Steelers primary punter from 2015-19 before being released just before the start of the 2020 season and replaced by veteran Dustin Colquitt.
Berry has averaged 44.2 yards per punt in his NFL career and averaged 45.5 yards per kick in 2019. Colquitt has averaged 43.1 yards per punt with the Steelers, the second-lowest average in his 16-year NFL career.
The Steelers originally signed the Australian Berry as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Kentucky in 2015, and he beat out incumbent Brad Wing, who was traded to the New York Giants.
In addition to Colquitt, the Steelers have also had rookie free agent Corliss Waitman on their practice squad all season.
Wilborn is a rookie that was with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason after signing as a free agent out of Ball State. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Wilborn played both safety and linebacker for the Cardinals, but projected to be a linebacker in the NFL.
He started 12 games at outside linebacker in his junior year and 12 games at safety in his senior year at Ball State after spending two seasons at Garden City (Ks.) Community College. Wilborn is a Lansing, Michigan native.
Injured Steelers OL Stefen Wisniewski Returns to Practice, Remains on IR
Steelers offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski returned to practice on Wednesday, but remains on the team’s injured reserve as the team began the process of returning him to the active roster.
Wisniewski suffered a pectoral injury during the Steelers’ season opener against the New York Giants and has missed each of the team’s last three games.
Three games is the minimum amount of time that player can spend on injured reserve before being reactivated, in a rule change for the 2020 season. Now that Wisniewski has begun practicing, the Steelers have 21 days to either reinstate him to the active roster or return him to the injured reserve for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Wisniewski’s return from injury would come at a good time for the Steelers, as starting center Maurkice Pouncey and starting right guard David DeCastro are both expected to miss practice time this week with injuries.
The Steelers signed Wisniewski to a two-year contract this offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs in order to serve as the team’s primary backup at both center and guard.
While Wisniewski was injured, rookie guard Kevin Dotson played at right guard while DeCastro missed time and first-year center J.C. Hassenauer filled in for Pouncey.
Chase Claypool Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Clayool has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, officially recognizing his phenomenal performance on Sunday.
The Notre Dame product has quickly emerged as not only one of the best rookies in a class that included 10 other receivers being drafted ahead of him, but also one of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. Claypool even talked about Roethlisberger anticipating his big game.
In his the first four games of his NFL career, Claypool has caught 13 balls for 261 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. With Roethlisberger’s propensity to spread the ball around and teammate Diontae Johnson’s health continuing to be in question, it would not be surprising if this AFC Offensive Player of the Week is simply just the first individual honor he receives this season.