The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed linebacker Tae Crowder from the practice squad of the New York Giants, the team announced on Tuesday.
Crowder was a seventh-round pick of the Giants (and last pick of the draft overall) in the 2020 NFL Draft and has played in 41 games and started 31 games with New York over the last three seasons.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Crowder started seven games as a rookie in 2020 and all 17 in 2021, but lost his job in the middle of this season, when the team moved Jaylon Smith to inside linebacker. Crowder was waived by the Giants on Dec. 20, cleared and was re-signed to their practice squad.
In total, Crowder has recorded 232 tackles, nine tackles for loss, eight passes defended, six quarterback hits, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one defensive touchdown.
Tae Crowder, Mr. Irrelevant of the 2020 NFL Draft, just scored the potential game winning touchdown for the Giants first win of the season.
Just like they drew it up. pic.twitter.com/gLGseY2VUN
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) October 18, 2020
A native of Pine Mountain, Georgia, Crowder played his college football for the Georgia Bulldogs. He played 44 games at Georgia and made 122 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions and seven passes defended.
Crowder has been one of the worst-graded linebackers in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. His season-long defensive grades have been 36.4, 29.1 and 29.6.
The Steelers have a need at inside linebacker because of the injury to special teams regular Marcus Allen, who was lost to a significant biceps injury late in the team’s Week 16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Allen typically only plays on special teams, and Crowder has been a regular special teams contributor for New York, appearing in 44% of the Giants’ special teams snaps so far this season.
Crowder and sixth-round rookie Mark Robinson will serve as depth behind starters Myles Jack, Devin Bush and Robert Spillane. Crowder will be a restricted free agent after this season.