Steelers Activate RB from COVID-19 List, Release Fullback

Getty Jaylen Samuels of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Today the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have activated running back Jaylen Samuels from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Samuels was added to the list on August 2nd.

To make room for Samuels on the roster the Steelers released fullback Spencer Nigh, who was signed this spring as an undrafted free-agent out of Auburn University. Nigh—6-0 and 267 pounds—started nine games for Auburn last year.

Samuels to Compete for Backup RB Job

Samuels is entering his third season with the Steelers after being selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of North Carolina State.

Samuels has made seven starts thus far in his career and has rushed for 431 yards on 122 carries and one touchdown. He has been more successful catching the ball out of the backfield, contributing 73 receptions for 504 yards and four touchdowns.

Yesterday, running backs coach Eddie Faulkner was asked about Samuels missing practice time and Faulkner said it was vital for Samuels to get back before the team begins practicing in pads beginning on Monday August 17.

“Any time missed and any work missed isn’t necessarily a good thing,” said Faulkner. “But if you are going to miss some time, it would be in the front end of this where the tempo is down, it is a walk through, meetings and stuff like that.”

Faulkner said that he has been in contact with Samuels on a daily basis.

“First of all, my most important concern [has been] his well-being,” said Faulkner. “Secondly, to make sure he is up to speed as far as meetings and what we have talked about and plays going in that day. He does have the advantage of going into his third year so he has done most of these things and everything will resonate with him once he hears it.”

But Faulker admitted that it’s not necessarily going to be easy for Samuels to catch up.

“He is just going to have to go out and hit the ground running,” added Faulkner. “COVID has put us in that type of situation where guys have to be willing to show up and show out if they are put into that protocol. I would expect him to do that and I do have confidence once he is here, he will know what he is doing and play fast and react fast to what is going on.”

About the Reserve/COVID-19 List

The COVID-19 list was created for players who either test positive for COVID-19 or have been quarantined after having been in close contact with an infected person or persons.

If a player falls into either category, their club is required to immediately place that player on the list. Per NFL-NFLPA policy, clubs are not permitted to comment on player’s medical status. That is, clubs may not disclose whether player is in quarantine or is positive for COVID-19.

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