The Pittsburgh Steelers have promoted veteran linebacker Mykal Walker from the practice squad to the 53-man roster in advance of the club’s Week 11 game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Walker could start alongside Elandon Roberts, as the Steelers will be without both Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander for the Cleveland game and the rest of the season. Holcomb was lost for the year to a knee injury in Week 9. Alexander is out for the season after an Achilles injury last Sunday.
That left the Steelers with just two linebackers on the active roster before they promoted Walker, whose signing to the practice squad three weeks ago now seems prescient.
“He’s not on our practice squad for development, to be quite honest with you,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “He’s on our practice squad to learn what to do and to position and ready himself for a moment, such as what’s going to probably transpire this weekend.”
The Steelers will likely use Walker to replace the coverage role provided by Alexander and Holcomb, while Roberts and Mark Robinson focus on run support.
“I don’t know yet (if I’m gonna start),” Walker said. “But they told me I’m getting my number called. I’m going to play so that’s all I need to hear.”
Walker was released by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this summer and claimed by the Chicago Bears. Then, Walker was released during cut-downs by Chicago and has not caught on elsewhere. A fourth-round pick in 2020 out of Fresno State, Walker is a veteran with plenty of playing experience.
Over his three years in Atlanta, he racked up 187 tackles, two forced fumbles, three interceptions, and one sack. In those years, he started 20 games for the Falcons.
Walker’s promotion is a standard elevation to the 53-man roster. The Steelers are also expected to make linebacker Tariq Carpenter and safety Trenton Thompson game-day elevations.