PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have promoted outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, the team announced on Tuesday.
Tuszka, a second-year player out of North Dakota State, was added to the Steelers’ practice squad at the outset of the 2021 season after spending his rookie season and all of this offseason and training camp with the Denver Broncos.
With injuries keeping Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt out of Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Tuszka was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster. He played 27 snaps of defense in the game, as many as he had played with Denver in all of 2020, and out-snapped presumptive starter Jamir Jones. Jones was waived to make room for Tuszka on the active roster.
With Highsmith and Watt expected to rejoin practice this week, Tuszka will join Melvin Ingram as primary depth options at outside linebacker, along with likely adding a special teams role. He played 174 snaps of special teams with the Broncos in 2020, but played two snaps of field goal block against the Bengals on Sunday.
The 6-foot-4, 251-pound Tuszka was the Broncos’ seventh-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. A native of Warner, South Dakota, he played four year at North Dakota State won an FCS National Championship all four years. He was a unanimous FCS All-American after the 2019 season, when he recorded 13.5 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 48 tackles.
Players can be elevated from the practice squad without facing waivers upon recall a maximum of twice. Tuszka has worn No. 48 since joining the Steelers. The team’s active roster remains at 53 players after the moves.