PITTSBURGH — For the first time as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, linebacker Blake Martinez took the field as a team member. Meanwhile, Myles Jack returned to Pittsburgh and went through his first practice with the team in ten months. They are there to help bolster the linebacker corps that has already suffered multiple catastrophic injuries before this, and they are trying to brace themselves in case that happens ever again. Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb are both out for the season with injuries.
Both players came out of retirement at different points this season. Pittsburgh coaxed Jack to do that. Martinez got persuaded by Carolina after an injury to Shaq Thompson.
Jack lasted just a few weeks with the Eagles, when he decided to retire from football on Aug. 20. When he did so, the Eagles put him on the reserve/retired list, retaining his rights. They decided to release him on Thursday, putting him through waivers. With Jack cleared, he is eligible to sign with any team. He said the passion for football faded for him there, but he feels like Pittsburgh is a ‘true love’ for him. There are no hard feelings after his release, either.
“I understand it’s a business and things happen,” Jack said. “You can’t get emotional or anything about it. It’s what happens and goes. But it’s true love they brought me back.”
Jack, 28, played in 15 games and made 13 starts for the Steelers last year. He led the Steelers in tackles with 104 last season, and also had three tackles for loss, three passes defended and one quarterback hit. He lacked the splash play element that this unit seems to have recaptured this year.
Over Martinez’s career, he has four 100 or more tackle seasons, and 706 career tackles. His last came in 2020 with the Giants, where Martinez posted 151 tackles, but he has played just seven games in the previous two years with the Giants and Raiders. A 2016 fourth-round pick out of Stanford, Martinez had productive years for the Packers, too, and boasts 78 games of starting experience in his entire career.