Steelers Place ILB on IR

Robert Spillane

Patrick Smith/Getty Images Robert Spillane of the Pittsburgh Steelers returns an interception for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens on November 01, 2020.

On Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers made a series of roster moves, all of which involved the linebacker position(s). Most notably, the team placed inside linebacker Robert Spillane on injured reserve, meaning he will not be permitted to play again until the season-finale at Cleveland (Jan. 3, 2021).

Spillane suffered a knee injury during Pittsburgh’s last game (versus Washington). His injury is particularly untimely, as fellow inside linebacker Vince Williams was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list earlier this week, so neither Spillane nor Williams will be available Sunday at Buffalo.

With recent trade acquisition Avery Williamson the only ‘natural’ inside linebacker remaining on the active roster, the Steelers also elevated Tegray Scales from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster. Scales—who starred at the University of Indiana—was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on November 11th and is likely to make his NFL regular season debut on Sunday evening.

Scales came into the NFL in the spring of 2018 when he signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent. He has also spent time on the practice squads of the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL in the spring of 2020.

Ulysees Gilbert III Activated

On Saturday the Steelers also moved outside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III off injured reserve and onto the 53-man roster. Gilbert appeared in two games this season before being placed on IR with a back injury on November 4th. He returned to practice this past Wednesday.

One has to hope that Gilbert’s back issues are behind him, but it’s worth noting that he also missed half of the 2019 season with a fractured vertebra.

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Steelers Will Travel to Buffalo on Sunday

In one other bit of news from Saturday, the Steelers announced that they asked for and received permission from the NFL to travel to Buffalo on Sunday morning, this according to Brooke Pryor of ESPN. By rule, visiting teams are expected to travel the day before a game, but the Steelers asked for a waiver after having played on a short week for two weeks in a row.

Per Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, it has been more than eight years since the Steelers traveled on game day. On Sunday November 4, 2012, the Steelers traveled to New Jersey on game day for a matchup against the Giants, the travel alteration necessitated by Hurricane Sandy. Pittsburgh went on to beat New York that day, 24-20.

The Steelers (11-1) are scheduled to kick off against the Buffalo Bills (9-3) at 8:20 ET on Sunday. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 14-9 and has won six of the past seven meetings. At the moment, Buffalo is a consensus two-point favorite, with Buffalo coming off a 34-24 victory at San Francisco, one in which Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 32 of 40 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns.

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