The Steelers once again have looked to the XFL to help their defense, signing cornerback Arrion Springs on Thursday.
Springs, who played for the XFL’s Los Angeles Wildcats, was initially drafted by the Tampa Bay Vipers before he was traded to LA. In 5 XFL games before the league was forced to stop play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Springs recorded 16 total tackles and an interception.
The @XFLWildcats take it RIGHT back
— XFL (@xfl2020) February 23, 2020
Even though Springs has struggled to find pro success, he was a standout corner in college at Oregon, where he had 137 career tackles, 44 pass defenses, two sacks and two interceptions. After not being drafted in 2018, Springs signed as a rookie free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s also spent time on the practice squads of the Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers.
The Steelers have made it a point to sign former XFL players this off-season. Some of their XFL signings include offensive lineman Anthony Coyle, offensive tackle Jardon Jones, safety Tyree Kinnel, long snapper/linebacker Christian Kuntz and defensive ends Dewayne Hendrix and Cavon Walker. Walker led the XFL with 4.5 sacks for the New York Guardians. Hendrix and Kuntz played their college ball at Pitt and Duquesne, respectively.
Steelers Place LB Bud Dupree on Injured Reserve, Promote S Antoine Brooks to Active Roster
The Steelers have placed outside linebacker Bud Dupree on the injured reserve list and promoted safety Antoine Brooks Jr. from the practice squad to the active roster.
Dupree reportedly suffered an ACL injury during the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Baltimore Ravens and is expected to miss the rest of the 2020 season, head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed on Thursday.
Brooks was the Steelers’ sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Maryland. He has played in two games this season as an activated member of the practice squad and made two tackles on Nov. 15 against Cincinnati.
After the pair of moves, the Steelers have 50 players on their active roster, with four players on the COVID-19 reserve list: running back James Conner, tackle Jerald Hawkins, center Maurkice Pouncey and defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
Running back Wendell Smallwood and offensive lineman Anthony Coyle were returned to the practice squad after being activated on Wednesday. The practice squad now stands at a full 16 players.
Steelers Promote RB Wendell Smallwood, OL Anthony Coyle from Practice Squad
The Steelers have officially placed center Maurkice Pouncey on the COVID-19 reserve list and promoted running back Wendell Smallwood and offensive lineman Anthony Coyle from the practice squad to the active roster, the team announced on Wednesday before Pittsburgh’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Smallwood, a West Virginia alum, signed with the Steelers on the eve of training camp and has spent the entire season on the Pittsburgh practice squad. He has 233 career NFL carries for 931 yards and five touchdowns over four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.
Smallwood will help offset the loss of starting running back James Conner, who will miss the game on the COVID-19 reserve list, and backups Jaylen Samuels, who is out with a quad injury, and Trey Edmunds, who was placed on the injured reserve list with a hamstring injury.
Coyle signed with the Steelers this offseason after spending the spring with the New York Guardians of the XFL. He spent time with the Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons after signing with Houston as an undrafted free agent out of Fordham.
Coyle will help replace backup tackle Jerald Hawkins, who will miss the game while on the COVID-19 list. Fellow third-year pro J.C. Hassenauer will likely start for Pouncey, with Coyle, Kevin Dotson and Derwin Gray serving as backups on the offensive line.
Steelers Place C Maurkice Pouncey on COVID-19 List before Ravens Game
The Steelers have place center Maurkice Pouncey on the COVID-19 reserve list before Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced. The news was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Pouncey has not been listed as a close contact of any Steelers players previously and was a full participant in the team’s most recent practice on Sunday. It’s not clear if Pouncey’s addition was because of a positive test or potential exposure.
Pouncey will likely be replaced by third-year pro J.C. Hassenauer, who has filled in for Pouncey twice this season when he suffered minor injuries. Hassenauer spent most of the 2019 season on the Steelers practice squad, but earned a roster spot coming out of training camp this season and was elevated to the top backup at center after the release of veteran center/guard Stefen Wisniewski.
The Steelers will also be without starting running back James Conner, starting defensive end Stephon Tuitt and backup tackle Jerald Hawkins, who are all also on the COVID-19 list.
Guard Kevin Dotson and defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs were removed from the COVID-19 reserve list on Tuesday. Coaches Danny Smith and Matt Canada, who missed practice time this week after testing positives, have also been cleared to return.