PITTSBURGH — The Steelers placed safety Sean Davis on the injured and added quarterback Paxton Lynch to the practice squad on Tuesday, while making room on the roster for defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was acquired in a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night.
Davis, 25, started at free safety in the Steelers’ Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and suffered a shoulder injury on a stiff arm by Seahawks win receiver DK Metcalf in the third quarter. He briefly returned before leaving the game for good.
Davis had missed the Steelers’ season opener against the New England Patriots with an ankle injury. He was replaced both times by first-year safety Kameron Kelly. Davis must remain on the injured receiver for at least eight weeks before being reactivated.
Fitzpatrick has played both safety and cornerback in his career, and will almost certainly take Davis’ spot in the base defense.
Lynch, 25, was a first-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 2016 and spent three seasons in Denver before being released last September. He was in training camp with the Seattle Seahawks this summer.
The Steelers have just two quarterbacks available for practice after Ben Roethlisberger was placed on injured reserve and Devlin Hodges was promoted to the active roster on Monday. Mason Rudolph is expected to start.
Lynch has played in five career games and started four. He’s 79 for 128 (61.7%), 792 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. In three preseason games with the Seahawks this year, he was 98 of 37 for 180 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions.
The Steelers have traditionally kept three quarterbacks on their active roster, but kept just one after trading backup Josh Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars after Week 1.
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson Says He’s ‘Fine’ after Leaving Game in Concussion Protocol
Johnson took a hard hit while running a reverse that helped set up a Steelers score. He left the game and went to the locker room for evaluation, with the team first ruling him as questionable to return before downgrading him to out at the half. Johnson did not return to the Steelers’ sideline in the second half.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin did not offer a further update on Johnson or fellow injured players Derek Watt after the game, but Johnson took to social media to both update his condition and express his happiness over the team’s victory.
“I’m fine,” Johnson wrote. “Great team win though.”
I’m fine! Great team win though 🙏🏾
— Diontae Johnson (@Juiceup__3) September 27, 2020
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger credited the rest of the Steelers’ receiving corps for stepping up in Johnson’s absence.
Steelers Injury Updates: JuJu Smith-Schuster Misses Second Straight Practice
Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro was a full participant during practice Thursday, while wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) did not practice for the second-straight day.
Smith-Schuster seemingly finished the Steelers’ Week 2 game against the Broncos without issue and was not among the players listed by Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin as expected limited participants this week.
He also missed Wednesday’s practice last week, but practiced on Thursday and Friday before playing against Denver. His status for Sunday’s game will likely be resolved based on whether or not he can practice on Friday.
DeCastro missed the majority of training camp and the Steelers’ first two games of the season with a knee injury, but has now practiced for consecutive days, likely putting him in line to return this Sunday against the Houston Texans.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson (toe) and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (knee contusion) were full-go after missing practice on Wednesday with minor ailments. Both are coming off big games against the Denver Broncos last week.
Johnson caught eight passes for 92 yards and a touchdown, while Alualu posted five total tackles, two tackles-for-loss and a sack.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive ends Cam Heyward and Stephon Tuitt also returned to the practice field after a scheduled day off Wednesday.
Center J.C. Hassenauer participated fully on Thursday, but has been added to the injury report with an ankle injury.
Steelers Injury Updates: David DeCastro Full Participant in Practice
Steelers guard David DeCastro returned to practice on Wednesday, but eight of his teammates did not, with at least one new injury amongst them.
DeCastro, who had been out since suffering a knee injury in a scrimmage in the second week of the Steelers training camp, was a full participant in practice on Wednesday in his first practice back to work.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster did not practice with a knee injury. Smith-Schuster was not named among the players expected to be limited participants this week by head coach Mike Tomlin on Tuesday.
It’s the second straight Wednesday that Smith-Schuster has missed Wednesday’s practice with a knee ailment. He was a full participant for the rest of the week last week and played against the Denver Broncos without an apparent issue.
Wide receiver Diontae Johnson (toe) and defensive lineman Tyson Alualu (knee contusion) were expected absences on Wednesday, while linebacker Bud Dupree (shoulder discomfort) practiced on Wednesday despite Tomlin warning that he might be limited this week. All are expected to play on Sunday.
Four more players — quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, center Maurkice Pouncey, defensive end Stephon Tuitt and defensive lineman Cameron Heyward — also did not practice. Their reason for missing practice listed by the team was “not injury related.”