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Steelers to Sign Local Linebacker after Tryout



Steelers LB Nick Kwaitkoski

The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to sign inside linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski after hosting him on a tryout during the club’s mandatory minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex last week, according to a report by Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan.

Kwiatkoski was one of two players invited to the camp on a tryout, along with former Carolina Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter. The team cleared a spot on the 90-man roster on Friday by releasing safety Scott Nelson.

The Steelers have limited depth at inside linebacker, with second-year former seventh-round pick Mark Robinson and former Seattle Seahawks special teams ace Tanner Muse serving as the top depth options behind starts Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts during spring ball.

Kwiatkoski, 30, is a Pittsburgh native. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound linebacker has played seven NFL seasons since joining the Chicago Bears in fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Kwiatkoski played in 57 games and made 22 starts over four seasons with Chicago, playing inside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4 scheme. He had his most productive season in 2019, when he made eight starts, and recorded career highs with 76 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks.

He parlayed that season into a three-year, $21 million free agent contract with the Las Vegas Raiders. In Vegas, Kwiatkoski started 12 games in 2020, recording 81 tackles, three for a loss and one sack.

In 2021, injuries limited him to eight games and he finished the season on the injured reserve list. The Raiders released Kwiatkoski last spring, and he caught on with the Atlanta Falcons, where he played 12 games, exclusively on special teams, and made seven tackles.

Before his pro career, Kwiatkoski played 48 games and made 37 starts over five seasons for West Virginia from 2011-15. He is the second WVU and WPIAL alum at Steelers minicamp, joining safety Kenny Robinson (Imani). Long snapper Christian Kuntz (Duquesne, Chartiers Valley) and cornerback Joey Porter Jr. (Penn State, North Allegheny) are other local players on the Steelers’ offseason roster.