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Steelers Sign Veteran Defensive Back Eric Rowe



Miami Dolphins safety Eric Rowe (21) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers are signing two-time Super Bowl Champion defensive back Eric Rowe to their practice squad, he said to Steelers Now on Monday. Rowe will join the team after injuries to Minkah Fitzpatrick and Keanu Neal. Neal went to injured reserve with a rib injury, while Fitzpatrick has missed three weeks with a hamstring strain.

“I was at home working out, and I got the call to come work out and see if I was in shape,” Rowe said. “I flew out Thursday, got here Friday, they liked me, and I appreciate it. I honestly went home for the weekend and just packed some stuff up and now I’m back here.”

Rowe, 31, has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins since coming into the league as a second-round pick of the Eagles out of Utah in 2015.

A 6-foot-1, 205-pound defensive back, Rowe has split his career playing time equally between outside cornerback, slot cornerback and strong safety, while also spending time at free safety and linebacker.

“I haven’t got into the weeds too much yet, but they saw my film,” Rowe said. “I have a lot of it, so, they know I can do multiple things. Anything they need me to do, I’m trying to jump right in there.”

Last season with the Miami Dolphins, he played 248 snaps at strong safety, 188 as a slot corner, 30 as a linebacker, 57 as a free safety and 44 as an outside corner.

In his eight-year NFL career, Rowe has played in 100 games and made 56 starts. He has recorded 381 tackles, 41 passes defended, seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two sacks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He won Super Bowls LI and LIII with the New England Patriots and has been a multi-year teammate of Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts. That relationship goes back and will make Rowe comfortable in the locker room to start.

“The only person besides E Rob (Elandon Roberts) that I know here is Minkah,” Rowe said. “I played with him before he got traded in 2019. E Rob gave me the rundown of how he likes it here and what’s it like. I was like ‘okay, I can fit right’.”

Damontae Kazee has moved from strong safety to free safety to replace Fitzpatrick and with Elijah Riley now injured, Rowe should slot in as a depth option at least. Trenton Thompson started on Sunday against the Browns and did well. He remains on the practice squad, but Rowe hopes to make a splash.

“It’s pretty nice when you go to a team that historically has always been a stable program,” Rowe said. “It’s been tough and physical. I’ve played the Steelers in the past multiple times and it’s never easy. So, going to a program like this, you don’t get to pick where you play, but when they called me, I was like, “Dang, I get a chance to play for the Steelers.'”

Rowe adds veteran insurance that Pittsburgh can rely upon, and he should be able to pick up the defense quickly as a veteran voice. After how Thompson played on Sunday, too, Pittsburgh has some decent options on the back end, and Fitzpatrick could return soon as well.

Alan Saunders contributed to the reporting of this article.