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.
Steelers Hire Alfredo Roberts as Tight Ends Coach
The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired Alfredo Roberts as their next tight ends coach, the team announced Monday.
A 22-year coaching veteran, Roberts most recently spent the last four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers, serving as their tight ends coach this past season and the running back coach the three prior. He has also made previous stops in Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Jacksonville over his career.
Roberts has coached a number of standout tight ends throughout his career, including Mercedes Lewis as a rookie with the Jaguars, and Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener with the Colts.
Roberts fills the vacancy left by previous tight ends coach James Daniel, who announced his retirement on Jan. 14.
The Steelers tight end room will look different in 2021, as veteran Vance McDonald announced his own retirement from football over the weekend. Pittsburgh is expected to return Eric Ebron, who caught 63 passes for 620 yards and six touchdowns this past season, including playoffs.
A native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Roberts played his collegiate ball at the University of Miami, before being selected in the eight round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He won a pair of National Championships with the Hurricanes, and two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.
Roberts caught 50 passes for 476 and two touchdowns over 82 career games.
Steelers Connections Abound in Chiefs-Buccaneers Super Bowl
While the Pittsburgh Steelers saw their Super Bowl LV hopes dashed two weeks ago, fans will recognize plenty of familiar faces when the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet on Feb. 7.
Six players with Steelers ties are expected to take the field in either red or pewter on Super Bowl Sunday, with the two most notable examples being Tampa Bay wide receiver Antonio Brown and Kansas City running back Le’Veon Bell.
Both missed their respective championship games due to injury, but could return to health in time for the Super Bowl with two weeks to recover.
In addition, the Chiefs also boast guard Stefen Wisniewski and punter Dustin Colquitt, who both spent time in Pittsburgh earlier this season.
Wisniewski is in line to make his second-straight Super Bowl start in response to injuries along the Chiefs’ offensive line suffered Sunday, while Colquitt is on Kansas City’s practice squad.
Former Steelers defensive back Ross Cockrell and nose tackle Steve McLendon will take the field for the Buccaneers defensively.
But Tampa Bay’s Pittsburgh connections do not stop on the field, as the Buccaneers will also have six coaches with Steeler ties on the sideline for the big game, including head coach Bruce Arians.
Arians, who is in his second season in Tampa, spent eight years in Pittsburgh, serving as wide receivers coach (2004-06) before being elevated to offensive coordinator (2007-11).
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich played under Arians in Pittsburgh, and had three separate stints with the Steelers as a backup quarterback to Ben Roethlisberger.
Tampa Bay also boasts assistant head coach and run game coordinator Harold Goodwin, outside linebackers coach Larry Foote, offensive assistant Antwaan Randle El and assistant coach Tom Moore.
Even with the Steelers at home watching along with the rest of the country, Pittsburgh should have no shortage of rooting interests when the Chiefs meet the Buccaneers in Tampa in two weeks time.
Report: Steelers OL Coach Candidate Hank Fraley Retained in Detroit
Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Hank Fraley will reportedly be retained as the Detroit Lions’ offensive line coach, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett.
Some good news for Lions fans still coming to grips with the news Matthew Stafford likely will be playing elsewhere in 2021:— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 24, 2021
Respected OL coach Hank Fraley will be back with the team, and Dave Fipp could be joining him as ST coach now that the Eagles are letting him interview.
Pittsburgh reportedly interviewed Fraley last Thursday for their offensive line coach vacancy, but he has opted to remain with Detroit under new head coach Dan Campbell.
Fraley was a standout at Robert Morris before signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He was waived prior to the season, but played ten seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams. Fraley has spent the last two seasons as Detroit’s offensive line coach.
Pittsburgh’s search for their next offensive coordinator and line coach continues. The Steelers chose not to retain Randy Fichtner and Shaun Sarrett earlier this month.