Steelers Claim Ex-Lions, Texas A&M Center

Ryan McCollum

Michael Reaves/Getty Images Kellen Mond of the Texas A&M Aggies prepares to take a snap from Ryan McCollum against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the the Capital One Orange Bowl on January 2, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers waived a pair of offensive linemen on August 16 — two of six players cut — and also signed rookie free agent offensive guard William Dunkle. But that’s not the only tweak the team made to its offensive line on Tuesday. Later in the day the Steelers announced that they claimed former Detroit Lions center Ryan McCollum on waivers.

McCollum is a Former Teammate of Dan Moore Jr.

Ryan McCollum, 24, entered the league in the spring of 2021, signing with the Houston Texans as a rookie undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M. He failed to make Houston’s 53-man roster but was added to the practice squad on September 1, 2021; the Lions signed him away from the Texans a little more than a month later.

Detroit pressed him into action right away, and he went on to appear in 13 games for the Lions (with one start), playing a total of 101 snaps on offense and 47 on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference.

In college, McCollum played on the same offensive line as second-year Steelers left tackle Dan Moore Jr. He’s also a former teammate of Steelers inside linebacker Buddy Johnson, as well as rookie third-round pick DeMarvin Leal.

Pittsburgh could conceivably add yet another ex-Aggies lineman to its 90-man roster on Wednesday, as the Tennessee Titans waived offensive tackle Carson Green on August 16.

Green, 23, entered the NFL last spring along with Moore and McCollum.

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Steelers Waived Nate Gilliam

To make room for McCollum on the 90-man roster the Steelers released center Nate Gilliam, who recently drew the ire of head coach Mike Tomlin thanks to an ongoing issue with botched snaps, a problem first noted by Christopher Carter, who writes for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Mark Kaboly of The Athletic elaborated about the issue a day later:

Gilliam’s history with the Steelers dates back to the end of last season. He signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on December 21, 2021, only to get released a week later. He came back to the team in on January 18, 2022, when he inked a one-year Reserve/Futures contract.

All that said, Pittsburgh’s offensive line remains considerably unsettled heading into the second preseason game. The Steelers still need to decide who will start at left guard, whether that’s Kevin Dotson or Kendrick Green. Things are even less well defined in terms of the backups, with Joe Haeg penciled in as second-string left tackle, J.C. Hassenauer the backup center, and John LeGlue & Trent Scott the top reserves at right guard and right tackle, respectively.

Javon McKinley Waived With an Injury Settlement

In other news from Tuesday, the Steelers waived wide receiver Javon McKinley from injured reserve with an injury settlement, this according to the NFL’s daily personnel notice.

McKinley was waived injured last Thursday and after clearing waivers he reverted to Pittsburgh’s Reserve/Injured list.

The Steelers signed McKinley on August 1 but he lasted just a handful of training camp practices before getting hurt.

As of now Pittsburgh has three players on its injured reserve list, namely running back Jeremy McNichols, as well as safety Karl Joseph and wide receiver Anthony Miller.

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