Steelers Lose Starting Offensive Lineman to Injured Reserve

Kevin Dotson

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Kevin Dotson of the Pittsburgh Steelers blocks Hassan Ridgeway of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on August 12, 2021.

Late Saturday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers made a series of roster moves in advance of going against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. Somewhat overshadowed by the activation of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from the Reserve/COVID-19 list is that starting offensive guard Kevin Dotson has been placed on the Reserve/Injured list. The transaction was not entirely unexpected, as Dotson suffered a significant-looking ankle injury last Sunday against the Detroit Lions. But it does mean that the second-year starter will—at a minimum—miss the next three games. That is, the Chargers game, plus AFC North divisional games at the Cincinnati Bengals and at home versus the Baltimore Ravens.

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Backup J.C. Hassenauer to Fill in For Dotson

With Dotson set to miss his first start of the 2021 season, the Steelers are expected to turn to reserve center/guard J.C. Hassenauer as a replacement. Assuming that is the case, Hassenauer will be making his first career start at guard, having started four games at center last season as a fill-in for Maurkice Pouncey.

All told, Hassenauer—who is 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds—has appeared in 24 games over the course of the last two seasons. For what it’s worth, he has some experience blocking for rookie running back Najee Harris, as the two played together at Alabama before Hassenauer entered the NFL in 2018, signing as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons. Hassenauer went on to spend time on Atlanta’s practice squad and also played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football League before signing with the Steelers on April 5, 2019. That year he failed to make Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster out of training camp but was inked to the practice squad on November 20, 2019 and added to the active roster the following month.

Steelers Elevate a Trio of Defenders

Meanwhile, the Steelers also made three other roster moves in advance of Sunday’s game. First and foremost, the team elevated former first-round pick Karl Joseph as a COVID-19 replacement for free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

At the same time, the club also elevated defensive lineman Daniel Archibong and outside linebacker Delontae Scott from the practice squad, with the former taking the spot of rookie Isaiahh Loudermilk and the latter expected to provide depth behind Alex Highsmith, Taco Charlton and Derrek Tuszka in the absence of T.J. Watt.

Chargers Activate Joey Bosa

While Pittsburgh will be without All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt for Sunday night’s game, the Chargers will have the services of their best pass rusher, that being Joey Bosa, who was activated—along with fellow linebacker Drue Tranquill—off the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday.

Bosa had been placed on the list as an unvaccinated close contact of someone who tested positive earlier this week. He was cleared to return after five days apart from his team. In nine games this season, Bosa has 28 total tackles, with 5.5 sacks, 11 quarterback hits and three forced fumbles.

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