Broncos Sign Ex-Steelers Linebacker Ahead of Week 5 Matchup

Avery Williamson and TJ Watt

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images T.J. Watt #90 and Avery Williamson #51 celebrate a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals on December 21, 2020.

On Tuesday the Denver Broncos announced that they have signed former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Avery Williamson to their practice squad. The move comes five days before the two teams are scheduled to go head-to-head at Heinz Field—and just hours after it was reported that Williamson had a workout with the Broncos. Denver is is need of depth at the position, as Josey Jewell (torn pectoral) is out for the season and Jonas Griffith (hamstring) is on injured reserve.

The Steelers Traded for Avery Williamson Last Season

Williamson, now 29, last suited up for Pittsburgh in its Jan. 2021 playoff defeat to the Cleveland Browns. He was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets on Nov. 1, 2020, in exchange for Pittsburgh’s fifth-round draft pick in 2022, with the Steelers also getting a 2022 seventh-round pick from New York as part of the transaction.

The Steelers felt compelled to make the deal in the wake of a torn ACL suffered by Devin Bush Jr. in Oct. 2020, not to mention a back injury to then-Steelers linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III.

Williamson turned out to be a half-season stopgap solution for the Steelers, appearing in eight regular-season games and making four starts, this according to Pro Football Reference (PFR). Along the way, he was responsible for 52 total tackles (37 solo), with one sack, two quarterback hits and three tackles for loss.

Those numbers are roughly proportionate to what Williamson provided the Jets—and before that, the Tennessee Titans—when he was a starter for both of those teams.

But the Steelers made no effort to re-sign the former Kentucky Wildcat, who came into the NFL in 2014, when the Titans selected him in the fifth round of that year’s draft.

This Year the Steelers Traded for Yet Another Starting Linebacker

But that doesn’t mean the team was content to go into the 2021 season with Bush and Robert ‘Front of the Plane’ Spillane as the starters at inside linebacker.

In mid-August of this year, the Steelers acquired former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Joe Schobert, getting him at the cost of a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The move came less than a month after longtime Steelers linebacker Vince Williams retired on the eve of training camp.

Thus far, Schobert has started all four games this season and has contributed 29 total tackles (17 solo), as well as three passes defensed, this as per PFR.

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Mathew Sexton Has Workout With Texans

In other workout-related news, the Houston Texans had a trio of wide receivers in for a workout earlier this week, including ex-Steelers wideout Mathew Sexton.

The Steelers signed Sexton—aka ‘Cheddar Bob’—in late March, after the Eastern Michigan product impressed at Michigan State’s 2021 Pro Day.

Sexton looked like he had an outside chance of making Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster as a kick return specialist—until he muffed two punts in Pittsburgh’s fourth and final preseason game. He was released on Aug. 28, 2021, and has had tryouts with several teams in the time since, including the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears.

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