Steelers’ Search for a Kicker Continues

Pittsburgh Steelers helmet

Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers helmet.

On Sunday we learned that the Pittsburgh Steelers plan to audition CFL punter/kicker Richie Leone this coming Tuesday. It’s a name that may be vaguely familiar to hardcore Steelers fans, as Leone spent some time with the team in the first half of 2015. He also worked out with the team’s current placekicker, Chris Boswell, in the run-up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

We know from Sunday’s NFL transactions sheet that the Steelers also plan to tryout former CFL placekicker/punter Sergio Castillo.

Like Leone, Castillo recently opted out of his CFL contract after the league canceled its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Castillo, 29, is a veteran of four CFL seasons, appearing with the BC Lions, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ottawa Redblacks and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He has converted 80 of his 92 field goal attempts in the CFL with a long of 57 yards. He also has a 44.4 yard punting average on 134 punts over 38 total games.

The Texas native played his college football at West Texas A&M, converting 38 of 49 field goals with a long of 56. He also converted 174 of 177 extra points and finished his college career third all-time in scoring in school history. He went undrafted in the 2014 NFL draft but was signed by the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent, appearing in one preseason game before being cut.

Most recently he played for the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL, successful on five of nine field goals during the five games in which he appeared. His XFL contract was terminated when the league suspended operations in April.

Are the Steelers Looking to Replace Chris Boswell?

With the organization bringing in two kickers, some fans will naturally wonder if the Steelers are looking to replace placekicker Chris Boswell and/or punter Jordan Berry. Most likely that is not the case.

It’s more likely that the Steelers are looking for a kicker—ideally one who can handle field goals, kickoffs and punts—that they can stash on the practice squad and activate for a game in an emergency. Ideally that player—like the aforementioned Leone—also has experience holding for field goals and extra points.

Other Notable NFL Tryouts

There were a few other tryouts on Sunday that may be of interest to Steelers fans, both held by the Arizona Cardinals.

Today the Cardinals reportedly worked out Tom Flacco, the younger brother of Denver Broncos and former Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Tom isn’t quite the prospect Joe was. In fact, it took him four years and three schools—Western Michigan, Rutgers and then Towson—before he started a college game. He’s also a mere six-foot-one, five inches shorter than his older brother. He passed for 6,082 yards and 50 touchdowns in 24 games at Towson but wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl or NFL Combine.

The Cardinals also worked out long snapper Colin Holba, who was Pittsburgh’s sixth-round draft pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Holba was cut by the Steelers prior to the 2017 season, but he has since spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants.

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