Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III was not activated from the injured reserve list on Wednesday at the end of his 21-day practice window, and must now spend the rest of the season on the injured reserve list.
Austin started practicing in his 21-day window on Oct. 5 and practiced for two weeks, but was not seen in the portions of practice open to the media in his final week. It puts an end to the rookie’s season before it even got started, as Austin never got the chance to step into an NFL stadium as a player.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that Austin was unlikely to be included in the game plan against the Philadelphia Eagles. It is not known if the team just did not feel he was ready or if Austin suffered a setback in his recovery process. But Tomlin was blunt about the expectations that the team had for Austin coming out of Tuesday’s press conference.
“This guy hadn’t played in a stadium yet, anyway,” Tomlin said. “He hadn’t played in a preseason stadium. It’s more about development for him, and that’s the perspective I have. I’m just being realistic. Up or down, active or inactive, his overall readiness is probably not a high probability. I’m just being straightforward.”
With Austin out for the season, it appears that the top six receivers that the Steelers have now on the roster will stay. Gunner Olszewski, Steven Sims, and Miles Boykin all forced their way onto the roster with a strong preseason, and it appears that the roster will remain that way without the threat of Austin’s return.
It is a disappointing result for a rookie who electrified in Latrobe this training camp. But it appears that things just kept setting Austin back from returning to the football field, so he will have to wait another year to give it another shot.