Steelers Sign Placekicker, Activate 2 Linemen

Matthew Wright

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images Placekicker Matthew Wright attempting a field goal for the Pittsburgh Steelers during a preseason game in 2019.

Two weeks ago the Pittsburgh Steelers took the opportunity to work out a pair of free agent placekickers. Today the team announced that it has signed one of the two—Matthew Wright, an undrafted free agent out of Central Florida—to the team’s practice squad.

With the move, the Steelers now have backups on the practice squad for all three specialist roles.

Wright can be elevated if anything happens to kicker Chris Boswell, and rookie practice squad punter Corliss Waitman can be called on if Jordan Berry is suddenly unavailable. On November 24th the Steelers added linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz to the practice squad, which gives the team a fallback option if anything happens to Kameron Canaday.

Matthew Wright Returns to the Steelers

Steelers fans may recall that Matthew Wright was with the team in 2019, competing with Boswell for the placekicker job after Boswell struggled in 2018. Wright converted five of six field goals during the 2019 preseason, but head coach Mike Tomlin decided to stick with Boz, which turned out to be the right move as Boswell has been exceptional ever since. (This season he has converted 16 of 17 field goal attempts, for example.)

At Central Florida, Wright converted 55 of his 71 field goal attempts. His 55 field goals made are a school record. He has a degree in aerospace engineering, which gives him something in common with Steelers third-string quarterback Josh Dobbs.

Pittsburgh Steelers COVID-19 Update

On Monday, the Steelers also activated two linemen off the team’s Reserve/COVID-19 list: rookie offensive guard Kevin Dotson and second-year defensive tackle Isaiah Buggs. Dotson has been on the COVID list since November 14th, but Buggs was added only this past Friday, on the same day the Steelers added defensive end Stephon Tuitt and offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins.

Buggs was Pittsburgh’s sixth-round draft choice in 2019. He has appeared in six games this season—with one start—and has recorded five tackles.

In one other roster move on Monday, the Steelers also elevated safety Antoine Brooks Jr. from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster as a COVID-19 replacement. Brooks Jr. was drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft (Maryland). He has appeared in two games to date, with one solo tackle and one assist.

As of this moment, the Steelers are scheduled to host the Baltimore Ravens sometime on Wednesday (per Adam Schefter of ESPN), though the game has already been postponed three times—first from Thanksgiving night to Sunday afternoon, then from Sunday to Tuesday night, and most recently from Tuesday night to Wednesday.

Over the weekend, Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said he and his teammates are doing their best to roll with the punches, so to speak.

“If you get stuck in the mud or think it’s got to be this way, you are preparing yourself for failure,” he offered. “We understand there are a lot of things going on, we understand we can’t be perfect in this situation. The pandemic isn’t going to allow anyone to be perfect. We just have to be willing to adjust, make things happen on the fly and be ready to fly when we get the opportunity….”

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