The Steelers waived injured defensive lineman Lavon Hooks on Thursday and signed outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott.
Hooks will miss the entire 2019 season with an Achilles injury suffered in practice, according to a report by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. A 6-foot-3, 312 pound defensive end, Hooks has been with the Steelers since 2016, but has never appeared in a game.
If Hooks clears waivers, he will revert to the Steelers’ injured reserve. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi with the Green Bay Packers, but was cut after his first training camp. The Steelers signed him the following February to a futures contract.
The same thing played out the following year, as the Steelers released him after training camp but re-signed him in February 2017. After his second camp with the team, Hooks made the practice squad in 2017 and did the same in 2018.
He had worked his way up the depth chart and was challenging sixth-round pick Isaiah Buggs and free agent Dan McCullers for playing time during this year’s training camp.
Elliott, 27, brings four years of NFL experience to the Steelers. He signed with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2014 and made the 53-man roster. He played three years in Green Bay, recording 57 tackles, four sacks, two passes defended, an interception and a forced fumble.
He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on the eve of the 2017 season, but was released after playing in one game, and spent the rest of the season out of football. In 2018, he spent training camp with the New Orleans Saints, but was released and didn’t catch on elsewhere.
This spring, Elliott signed with the San Antonio Commanders of the AAF and was a rotational linebacker on the same unit as current Steelers defensive lineman Winston Craig.
Elliott then signed with the Miami Dolphins after the AAF folded, but was released on July 24.
The Steelers have had a rash of injuries at the outside linebacker position. Backup Ola Adeniyi is out several weeks after undergoing surgery on a torn meniscus, fellow backup Anthony Chickillo was removed from the team’s Week 2 preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs with a chest injury and sixth-round rookie Sutton Smith has missed significant practice time with an abdominal injury.