The Steelers have signed former Tennesse Titans and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jacob Copeland to their practice squad, the team announced on Tuesday. He is taking over Jalen Elliott’s spot on the practice squad while the Steelers load up on more wide receivers on the practice squad.
Copeland, 24, becomes the fourth receiver on the Steelers’ practice squad, joining Denzel Mims, Deuce Watts, and Dez Fitzpatrick.
This signing comes after punt returner Calvin Austin III was dealing with an ankle injury. Mike Tomlin noted that the injury does not seem serious, but that Austin could be limited early in the week and it is something to monitor for the Steelers. If he can not go, Pittsburgh would need a backup punt returner, and it is not known who exactly that is on the roster.
A 5-foot-11, 201-pound Maryland alum, Copeland attended the East-West Shrine Bowl and the NFL Combine in the pre-draft process, where the Steelers scouted him heavily. Area scout Mike Butler was also at his Pro Day.
He turned in an excelled Relative Athletic Score of 8.19, showing excellent straight-line speed (4.42-second 40-yard dash) and explosiveness (10-foot-7 broad jump) but below-average agility (4.47-second short shuttle).
Copeland signed with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent, but was waived at the start of training camp on Aug. 2. He then signed with the Minnesota Vikings, but was released on cut-down day on Aug. 29. He had a previous stint with the Steelers, but was released by the team after just a few weeks.
This was part of two switches the team made on their practice squad on Tuesday. Pittsburgh will hope Austin’s injury is minor and that he is ready to go but if not, the team will have to find a solution at punt returner before Sunday. Copeland has returned kicks, but not punts in his career.