The Steelers signed veteran receiver Johnny Holton on Monday and gave contracts to five players who participated in the team’s rookie minicamp.
Holton was waived by the Eagles last week after spending his first three seasons with the Raiders. Even though Holton, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Cincinnati in 2016, hasn’t yet received an opportunity to put up numbers, but the Steelers may see his size and speed as reason to give him a shot.
In three pro seasons, he made 11 catches for 252 yards and started one game. He also had six carries for 43 yards. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound receiver out of Cincinnati was clocked at 22.23 miles per hour on a play in Week 7 of the 2016 season, says 247 Sports.
The Steelers also offered contracts to five players that took part in rookie minicamp over the weekend: defensive tackle Greg Gilmore, quarterback Devlin Hodges, defensive end Henry Mondeaux, offensive tackle Damian Prince and linebacker Tuzar Skipper.
Gilmore, a 6-foot-4, 311-pound, first-year player out of LSU, spent training camp with the Steelers in 2018 after going undrafted. He was cut on September 1, and signed with the Memphis Express of the AAF, where had six tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery, before re-joining the Steelers this spring.
Hodges, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound undrafted rookie from Samford passed for over 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns in his senior season with the Bulldogs, won the Walter Peyton Award for most outstanding FCS player and was a three-time FCS All-American.
Mondeaux, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound first-year player, is on his third NFL team after going undrafted out of Oregon. He spent 2018 with New Orleans during training camp and spent time on the Saints’ practice squad, but signed a futures contract with the Kansas City Chiefs before being released on May 3.
Prince was the opposite bookend to Steelers seventh-round pick Derwin Gray at Maryland. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound lineman was a three-year starter for the Terps at right tackle.
Skipper is a 6-foot-3, 246-pound outside linebacker that is making the transition after playing defensive end at Toledo. As a senior in 2018, he made 60 tackles, 11.5 for a loss and had 8.5 sacks to lead the Rockets. He was fourth in the Mid-American Conference in sacks, trailing leader Sutton Smith of NIU, one of the Steelers sixth-round draft picks.
To make room on the 90-man roster, the Steelers released linebacker Keion Adams, defensive end Jay Hayes, defensive tackle Chris Nelson, offensive lineman R.J. Prince, quarterback Brogan Roback and wide receiver Ka’Raun White.
Adams was the Steelers seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent 2017 on the injured reserve and the 2018 season on the practice squad. Hayes and Nelson joined the team as undrafted free agents after the 2019 draft.
Steelers Host P Jordan Berry, LB Ray Wilborn for Free Agent Visits
The Steelers hosted former punter Jordan Berry and linebacker Ray Wilborn for free agent visits on Monday, according to the NFL transactions report.
Berry, 29, was the Steelers primary punter from 2015-19 before being released just before the start of the 2020 season and replaced by veteran Dustin Colquitt.
Berry has averaged 44.2 yards per punt in his NFL career and averaged 45.5 yards per kick in 2019. Colquitt has averaged 43.1 yards per punt with the Steelers, the second-lowest average in his 16-year NFL career.
The Steelers originally signed the Australian Berry as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Kentucky in 2015, and he beat out incumbent Brad Wing, who was traded to the New York Giants.
In addition to Colquitt, the Steelers have also had rookie free agent Corliss Waitman on their practice squad all season.
Wilborn is a rookie that was with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason after signing as a free agent out of Ball State. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Wilborn played both safety and linebacker for the Cardinals, but projected to be a linebacker in the NFL.
He started 12 games at outside linebacker in his junior year and 12 games at safety in his senior year at Ball State after spending two seasons at Garden City (Ks.) Community College. Wilborn is a Lansing, Michigan native.
Injured Steelers OL Stefen Wisniewski Returns to Practice, Remains on IR
Steelers offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski returned to practice on Wednesday, but remains on the team’s injured reserve as the team began the process of returning him to the active roster.
Wisniewski suffered a pectoral injury during the Steelers’ season opener against the New York Giants and has missed each of the team’s last three games.
Three games is the minimum amount of time that player can spend on injured reserve before being reactivated, in a rule change for the 2020 season. Now that Wisniewski has begun practicing, the Steelers have 21 days to either reinstate him to the active roster or return him to the injured reserve for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Wisniewski’s return from injury would come at a good time for the Steelers, as starting center Maurkice Pouncey and starting right guard David DeCastro are both expected to miss practice time this week with injuries.
The Steelers signed Wisniewski to a two-year contract this offseason from the Kansas City Chiefs in order to serve as the team’s primary backup at both center and guard.
While Wisniewski was injured, rookie guard Kevin Dotson played at right guard while DeCastro missed time and first-year center J.C. Hassenauer filled in for Pouncey.
Chase Claypool Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week
Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Clayool has been named AFC Offensive Player of the Week, officially recognizing his phenomenal performance on Sunday.
The Notre Dame product has quickly emerged as not only one of the best rookies in a class that included 10 other receivers being drafted ahead of him, but also one of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets. Claypool even talked about Roethlisberger anticipating his big game.
In his the first four games of his NFL career, Claypool has caught 13 balls for 261 yards and scored 4 touchdowns. With Roethlisberger’s propensity to spread the ball around and teammate Diontae Johnson’s health continuing to be in question, it would not be surprising if this AFC Offensive Player of the Week is simply just the first individual honor he receives this season.