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Steelers Re-Stock Critically Low Safety Depth



Pittsburgh Steelers S Jalen Elliott
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Jalen Elliott at practice on Oct. 31, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have restocked their bench after suffering two losses at the safety position this week.

The Steelers re-signed safety Jalen Elliott to their practice squad, the team announced on Tuesday. Elliott had been with the team during training camp and already had one stint on the practice squad this season.

He was brought back after the team lost starting free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick for at least this week to a knee injury and starting strong safety Damontae Kazee was suspended for the rest of the 2023 season by the NFL on Monday.

The Steelers originally signed Elliott on Aug. 9 in the midst of a rash of safety injuries during the first part of training camp.

The 25-year-old Richmond, Virginia native played in 44 games at Notre Dame while racking up six interceptions and 11 pass deflections. His junior season was his most productive with four interceptions and seven pass deflections. Over his career, he posted 176 tackles with the Fighting Irish.

In the NFL, he first joined the Detroit Lions as an undrafted free agent in 2020. Elliott spent two seasons with the Lions, bouncing between the practice squad and the active roster. He played in eight games in 2021, making 12 tackles.

The 6-foot, 205-pound Elliott signed with the New England Patriots during the 2022 offseason, but was released after training camp. He spent time with the Las Vegas Raiders practice squad last season and re-signed with the Raiders for 2023, but was waived in May.

Elliott played all three preseason games with the Steelers, recording 13 tackles. He was among the team’s second wave of cuts after training camp on Aug. 28.

He was re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 31 amid another crop of safety injuries, but was released on Nov. 28. He was not elevated for any games.

The Steelers are critically low in depth at safety. In addition to Fitzpatrick and Kazee, strong safety Keanu Neal remains out while on the injured reserve list for a rib injury. Elijah Riley (ankle) and Trenton Thompson (stinger) are expected to practice this week, but are not locks to play against the Cincinnati Bengals this Saturday.

Cornerback Patrick Peterson moved to free safety in the middle of the game against the Colts, and could be in line to start there once again. Special teams captain Miles Killebrew is the only fully health safety on the 53-man roster.