Steelers Add Ex-Chargers Guard to Practice Squad

Nathan Gilliam Chargers

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images Nathan Gilliam (#63) and Trent Scott (#78) run a play during Los Angeles Chargers training camp on August 24, 2020.

On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers inked former Wake Forest offensive lineman Nathan Gilliam to the practice squad, this according to veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson.

Gilliam—who is 24 and listed at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds—entered the NFL in the spring of 2020, signing with the Los Angeles Chargers as an undrafted free agent. He has spent much of the time since on the Chargers practice squad, most recently released by Los Angeles on October 26, 2021.

In college, Gilliam was a two-year starter for the Demon Deacons, getting an almost equal number of starts at right tackle and right guard and earning third-team All-ACC honors during his redshirt senior season.

One post-draft profile described him as “a stout blocker who has a little bit of a mean streak to him. Wake Forest ran a lot of zone-read concepts and Gilliam was often used as a lead blocker pulling up through running lanes to open things up,” wrote Michael Peterson of SB Nation.

In effect, Gilliam takes the practice squad spot that had been occupied by former Ohio State offensive guard Malcolm Pridgeon, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on December 20.

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Ex-Steelers Linebacker Signs to Bengals Practice Squad

In other news, former Steelers linebacker Tegray Scales has joined the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad. Scales, 25, appeared in four games for the Steelers in 2020 and was back with the team this year. That is, until he was waived to make room for trade acquisition Joe Schobert in mid-August.

Scales was also with the Steelers for the first eight months of 2019, but was waived when the team cut its roster to 53 players. The former undrafted free agent (Indiana) has said that he plans to pursue a Mixed Martial Arts career after his NFL journey comes to an end.

Scales signed his contract in the wake of a tryout with the Bengals. Several other players who have spent time with the Steelers had tryouts with NFL teams on Tuesday. Those include placekicker Sam Sloman (tryout with Carolina) and defensive back Stephen Denmark, who worked out for the Denver Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Detroit Lions released former Michigan State cornerback Shakur Brown. The Steelers were the first NFL team to get a look at Brown, having enticed the former undrafted free agent with a $25,000 signing bonus back in May. But Brown was waived by Pittsburgh on August 28, 2021, failing to make it until the final round of roster cuts.

Pittsburgh’s Week 15 Practice Squad Protections

On Tuesday afternoon Pittsburgh named the four practice squad players it has chosen to protect this week.

Offensive guard Rashaad Coward
Safety Karl Joseph
Wide receiver Anthony Miller
Defensive end John Simon

None of the four are eligible to be signed off Pittsburgh’s practice squad until after this weekend’s game at Kansas City.

All except Simon—a former fourth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens who has also played for the Texans, Colts, Patriots and Titans—have appeared in at least one game for the Steelers this season. Of course, Simon has been in Pittsburgh little more than a week, having signed to the practice squad on December 13, 2021.

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