The Steelers waived injured cornerback Brian Allen on Tuesday and claimed cornerback Jhavonte Dean on waivers from the Cleveland Browns.
Allen, 25, was the Steelers’ fifth-round draft pick in 2017 and has played in 16 games over the last two seasons, recording three tackles. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, Allen worked primarily as a backup outside cornerback.
He was battling third-round pick Justin Layne for a spot in the Steelers top four (and likely a 53-man roster spot) before he suffered an injury that caused him to miss the team’s Week 3 preseason game at Tennessee.
Dean, 23, originally joined the Browns this May as an undrafted free agent out of Miami. He played in all three preseason games with Cleveland and made three tackles.
If Allen goes unclaimed on waivers, he will revert to the Steelers’ injured reserve list.
Daniel McCullers Terminates Practice Squad Contract with Steelers, 4 Others Protected
Steelers nose tackle Daniel McCullers has terminated his contract from the team’s practice squad, while four other practice squad players had their contracts protected by the team.
McCullers, 28, was the Steelers’ sixth-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and had spent the previous six seasons with the team, playing in 73 and making three starts while amassing 41 career tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
The 6-foot-7, 352-pound nose tackle was a somewhat surprising cut for the Steelers after training camp this season, losing his spot on the 53-man roster to rookie Carlos Davis.
McCullers was immediately signed to the Steelers’ practice squad and had been there since requesting his release on Tuesday. He is now free to sign with any team, to their active roster or practice squad.
The Steelers protected practice squad members wide receiver Deon Cain, linebacker Jayrone Elliott, defensive end Henry Mondeaux and running back Wendell Smallwood. Those players will remain on the Steelers’ practice squad through the week and cannot be signed by another team.
Without McCullers, the Steelers have one empty spot on their 16-man practice squad in advance of this Sunday’s Week 3 visit from the Houston Texans.
Steelers Place OL Stefen Wisniewski on IR; Promote Derwin Gray from Practice Squad
The Steelers have placed offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski on the injured reserve list and promoted offensive lineman Derwin Gray from their practice squad, the team announced on Friday.
Wisniewski suffered a pectoral injury late in the Steelers’ 26-16 season-opening win over the New York Giants on Monday and did not return. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he would “leave the light on” for Wisniewski to play this week, but he did not practice in any of the team’s three sessions in advance of Sunday’s home opener against the Denver Broncos.
Wisniewski started in place of David DeCastro on Monday. DeCastro, who has been out with a knee injury since the second week of training camp, has also been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Rookie Kevin Dotson is expected to start at right guard.
For the 2020 season, the NFL has added significant flexibility when it comes to the rules surrounding the injured reserve. Wisniewski will have to miss at least three weeks’ worth of games and practices while on the IR. At that point, the Steelers could return him to practicing with the team and would have another three weeks to decide whether they want to add him back to the active roster or remain on reserve for the remainder of the season. There is no maximum number of players that can return from IR this season.
The Steelers signed Wisniewski, a Central Catholic and Penn State alum, as an unrestricted free agent from the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, hoping to use him as a swing backup between center and guard in the fashion the team had used B.J. Finney in recent years. Wisniewski signed a two-year, $2.85 million contract with the Steelers.
Gray, 25, was the Steelers’ seventh-round draft pick out of Maryland in 2019. He did not make the team out of training camp last season, spent all of 2019 on the practice squad and then re-signed a reserve/future contract for 2020 in December. He was released once again on Sept. 5 of this year and added to the practice squad the next day. A tackle in college, Gray has played mostly guard in his time with the Steelers.
Wisniewski is the second Steelers player and second offensive lineman to be placed on injured reserve following the season opener. The Steelers placed right tackle Zach Banner on the reserve list on Wednesday.
Steelers Sign S John Battle to Practice Squad
The Steelers have signed safety John Battle to their practice squad, the team announced on Friday.
Battle, 25, originally signed with the Steelers on a reserve/future contract in January and spent the entire offseason with the squad before being released at the end of training camp earlier this month.
The Steelers had an open spot on their practice squad after the Arizona Cardinals signed away safety Curtis Riley on Wednesday.
Before joining the Steelers, Battle spent training camp with the New York Jets in 2019 after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of LSU. In 38 games with the Tigers, Battle recorded 143 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, five interceptions, forced two fumbles and defended 11 passes.