The Steelers had a local college star in for a workout on Friday, as former Penn State wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins agreed to a tryout with the team.
Thompkins was listed as working out with the Steelers on the NFL Transactions page. It’s not clear if he was actually able to get a workout in at Heinz Field, as the team’s practice has been pushed back to Friday evening due to rain.
Other tryouts have reported that it’s taken a day or two for them to clear the COVID-19 protocol and actually get their workout completed.
Thompkins, 24, last played with the DC Defenders in the XFL this spring. He finished the abbreviated spring season with seven catches on 17 targets for 85 yards and one touchdown. In 2019, he was with the Philadelphia Eagles in training camp.
In four seasons with Penn State, Thompkins had 83 catches for 1,245 yards (15 yards per catch) and eight total touchdowns.
The Steelers have been banged up at the wide receiver position, with Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster missing practice time this week and Anthony Johnson being placed on the injured reserve with a knee injury on Friday.
Thompkins is the second former Penn State wide receiver to try out with the Steelers. They worked out Saeed Blacknall earlier in the week, before re-singing him on Friday after releasing him earlier in training camp.
Steelers Activate Vance McDonald, Make Roster Moves
The Pittsburgh Steelers have activated tight end Vance McDonald off of the Reserve/COVID-19 list, one of multiple roster moves made Tuesday.
McDonald had been sidelined since Nov. 10, testing positive for the virus a day after Pittsburgh’s win in Dallas. He has nine catches for 61 yards on the year.
The Steelers also signed tight end Kevin Rader to active roster and added long snapper and linebacker Christian Kuntz to the team’s practice squad.
Both Pittsburgh natives, Rader attended Pine Richland, while Kuntz is a Chartiers Valley product who played his college ball at Duquesne.
Rader was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State by the Green Bay Packers in 2018, but has spent this season and last on the Steelers’ practice squad.
Kuntz has spent training camp with Pittsburgh the last two seasons, but has also seen time with the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. He had a tryout with the Steelers last week.
Lastly, Pittsburgh placed tight end Zach Gentry on the Reserve/Injured list. He suffered a left knee sprain early in Pittsburgh’s victory over the Jaguars last weekend. He had seen action in just two games this season, and has one career reception.
We’ve made roster moves:— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 24, 2020
• Signed TE Kevin Rader to the active roster
• Signed LB/LS Christian Kuntz to the practice squad
• Placed TE Zach Gentry on the Reserve/Injured List
• Activated TE Vance McDonald from the Reserve/COVID-19 List@BordasLawhttps://t.co/OCmBYQHPRF
Steelers Workout Trio of Specialists Wednesday
The Pittsburgh Steelers worked out a trio of specialists on Wednesday – long snapper and linebacker Christian Kuntz, punter Branden Wright and kicker Matthew Wright.
Steelers working out Christian Kuntz, Brandon Wright, Matthew Wright— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) November 18, 2020
Kuntz has spent practice squad and offseason time with five clubs over his career, including Pittsburgh twice over the last two seasons. He was waived on Aug. 2 after spending training camp with the Steelers earlier this year.
A local product, Kuntz attended Chartiers Valley and played his college ball at Duquesne. He also played for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in 2019.
Matthew Wright signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft and spent training camp with Pittsburgh two seasons ago, but did not make the final 53-man roster.
Wright made 55 of 71 field goals over four seasons in Orlando. He also hit 210 of 213 extra points during his collegiate career.
A rookie out of Georgia State, Brandon Wright originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent. He handled punting and kicking duties for the Panthers, averaging 43.3 yards a punt for his career and making 32 of 54 field goals.
After starting the season on the Jaguars’ practice squad, he was elevated to the active roster against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3 to replace injured kicker Josh Lambo. He hit two extra points, but injured his groin and was waived off injured reserve a few days later.
Steelers Sign TE Charles Jones to Practice Squad, Release LB Ryan Wilborn
The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed tight end Charles Jones to their practice squad and released linebacker Ryan Wilborn, the team announced Tuesday.
We have added TE Charles Jones to the practice squad and released LB Ray Wilborn.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 17, 2020
Undrafted out of Tulane in 2019, Jones signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He began the season as a member of the practice squad, but was promoted to the active roster and appeared in four games.
Jones began the 2020 season with Jacksonville as well, but was waived in September. He was also briefly a member of the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad earlier this season.
Jones caught 61 passes for 460 yards and eight touchdowns for the Green Wave over four seasons.
Wilborn was signed to the Steelers’ practice squad back on Oct. 23. A rookie that went undrafted out of Ball State, he initially signing with the Atlanta Falcons as a free agent this offseason.