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Steelers Try Out Veteran Defensive Back



Miami Dolphins safety Eric Rowe (21) during the second half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Pittsburgh Steelers worked out veteran defensive back Eric Rowe on Friday, according to the NFL transactions report.

Rowe, 31, has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins since coming into the league as a second-round pick of the Eagles out of Utah in 2015.

A 6-foot-1, 205-pound defensive back, Rowe has split his career playing time equally between outside cornerback, slot cornerback and strong safety, while also spending time at free safety and linebacker.

Last season with the Miami Dolphins, he played 248 snaps at strong safety, 188 as a slot corner, 30 as a linebacker, 57 as a free safety and 44 as an outside corner.

In his eight-year NFL career, Rowe has played in 100 games and made 56 starts. He has recorded 381 tackles, 41 passes defended, seven tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, two sacks, six forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

He won Super Bowls LI and LIII with the New England Patriots, and has been a multi-year teammate of Steelers linebacker Elandon Roberts.

The Steelers are dealing with multiple injuries in the defensive backfield. Starting free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick will miss his third straight game on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. 

Damontae Kazee has moved from strong safety to free safety to replace Fitzpatrick, and Keanu Neal, who had been sharing time with Kazee at strong safety, moved into a full-time role.

But Neal is also out this week after suffering a rib injury late in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers. Trenton Thompson is expected to be elevated from the practice squad and make his first career start at strong safety for the Steelers this week.

Free safety and slot cornerback Elijah Riley and cornerback Darius Rush are also filling in as depth.