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Steelers to Release Veteran Cornerback



Steelers Ahkello Witherspoon

The Pittsburgh Steelers are releasing cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Witherspoon, 28, played two seasons with the Steelers in 2021 and 2022 after being acquired in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Steelers have recently added multiple outside cornerback options, including second-round pick Joey Porter Jr., seventh-round pick Cory Trice and all-XFL cornerback Luq Barcoo.

Witherspoon had been expected to be a starter for the Steelers in 2022, but a major hamstring injury suffered in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns kept him off the field for almost the entire season. He attempted to come back for the team’s Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but was not healthy enough to continue.

“Yeah, I had an aggravation sometime in the bye week,” Witherspoon said. “I returned against the Eagles and felt great playing out there. But sometime when I got back from the bye week, I tweaked it again, and that was that.”

The release of Witherspoon will save $4 million in salary obligations for the Steelers in 2023, while incurring a $1.48 million dead cap hit for this coming season.

The Steelers brought Witherspoon along slowly in 2021 after he was acquired right before the start of the season. He played just once in the first 10 weeks, but then became a regular performer and played well down the stretch run, leading to him getting a contract extension and entering the 2022 season as the presumptive starter.

In 13 total games with the Steelers, Witherspoon had 35 tackles, one for a loss, 11 passes defended and four interceptions.

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