PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed punter Brad Wing to their practice squad, the team announced on Wednesday, giving Wing a second chance at an NFL career after substance abuse issues cost him his first shot in the league.
Wing joined the practice squad on Wednesday, one day after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced that punter Pressley Harvin III is dealing with a hamstring injury and might be limited in practice this week as the Steelers prepare to face the Houston Texans in Week 4.
The Steelers hosted Wing for a tryout back on Thursday, Sept. 14, after Tomlin was critical of Harvin’s performance in the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. But since then, the third-year punter has been stellar and was one of the keys to his team’s last two wins. His injury, though, opened the door to the Steelers adding a punter, and Wing apparently did enough in his tryout to earn another shot.
The 32-year-old played for the Steelers in 2014, joining the team as a free agent after failing to make the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Wing won the punter and holder job and kept it for the season. In 2015, the Steelers traded Wing to the New York Giants after a training camp battle with fellow Australian Jordan Berry.
Wing signed a three-year contract extension with the Giants in 2016, but was released in 2018 after a failed drug test. Wing has since admitted that substance abuse issues, which dated back to his time at LSU, had taken over his life. He entered treatment and says he has been sober since.
But a return to football was not a rapid one. Wing entered the 2023 XFL Draft and was selected by the San Antonio Brahmas, who were coached by his former Steelers teammate, Hines Ward. With the Brahmas, Wing was an on- and off-the-field success, being named a team captain and leading the XFL with an average of 47.8 yards.
Through three weeks, Harvin has averaged a career-best 47.2 yards per punt, with eight of his 19 kicks being downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
With the addition of Wing, the Steelers’ 16-man practice squad is now full.