Steelers Sign Linebacker Who Sees MMA in His Future

Tegray Scales

Joe Robbins/Getty Images Tegray Scales of the Indiana Hoosiers defends a pass against Brycen Hopkins of the Purdue Boilermakers on November 25, 2017.

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the signing of former Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales to the team’s practice squad. The move comes in the wake of inside linebacker Vince Williams being placed on the team’s COVID-19 Reserve list for being a close contact of tight end Vance McDonald, who tested positive for the virus on Monday.

Tegray Scales’ NFL Journey

Scales, 24, was with the Steelers for the first eight months of 2019 but was released when the team cut its roster to 53 players. Earlier this year he played for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL, and in October he spent two weeks on the practice squad of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Scales got his first chance with an NFL team in the spring of 2018, when he signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent. That year he also spent time on the practice squad of the Indianapolis Colts.

At the University of Indiana he played in 48 games with 26 starts, where he was credited with 325 total tackles (218 solo), 18 sacks, 46 tackles for loss, eight interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and eight passes defensed.

In 2016 he became the first Indiana linebacker to earn All-America honors since 1987, and in 2017 he was named first team All-Big Ten, the first time that happened to an Indiana LB since 1988. He is also a two-time winner of Indiana’s Anthony Thompson Most Valuable Player award.

In addition to excelling at football in high school, Scales was a nationally ranked wrestler. On multiple occasions he has said that he plans to pursue a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career when his NFL career is over—or if the NFL doesn’t work out.

Bengals Practice Squad DB Tests Positive for COVID-19

Meanwhile, both the Steelers (8-0) and Bengals (2-5-1) are contending with COVID-19 worries as Sunday’s game approaches. On Wednesday morning, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that a Bengals practice squad player has tested positive for the virus. As such the Bengals are holding a “handful” of defensive backs out of practice today.

As of now, this weekend’s Bengals-Steelers game—scheduled for Sunday at 4:25 ET at Heinz Field—remains on.

But Cincinnati now has a total of six players on its COVID-19 Reserve list, including cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, as well as former Steelers offensive tackle Fred Johnson, who the Bengals acquired after the Steelers waived him during the 2019 season. Johnson has played in 14 games for the Bengals with six starts.

Assuming he’s active for the game, the Steelers may have the opportunity to go against another former Pittsburgh offensive lineman on Sunday, as B.J. Finney was traded from Seattle to Cincinnati on October 28th in exchange for Carlos Dunlap and a seventh-round draft choice. Finney appeared in 65 games with the Steelers between 2016 and 2019, playing both center and guard.

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