Former Steelers Safety Signs with Rams

Antoine Brooks Jr.

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images Antoine Brooks Jr. (#25) of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2021 Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Last July the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Antoine Brooks Jr. to his four-year rookie contract. This summer the former sixth-round draft pick out of Maryland entered training camp as the most likely candidate to take over for Mike Hilton as the team’s slot cornerback. But things did not unfold as either party expected, and Brooks was waived/injured during the team’s second round of cuts on Aug. 24, after he suffered what was initially described as a “minor” injury on July 25.

But as of Friday, Brooks is back in the league, having signed on to the practice squad of the Los Angeles Rams just days after being waived from Pittsburgh’s injured reserve list with an injury settlement.

If Pittsburgh wants to get Brooks back, it would need to sign him to its active roster. (That is, unless Los Angeles includes him as one of its four ‘protected’ practice squad players for the week in question, in which case the Steelers would be precluded from signing him.)

As a player in his second year in the league, Brooks will earn $9,200 per week while on the Rams’ practice squad. When he entered the NFL he was labeled a safety, but he has also been projected as a slot corner and could possibly fit in a linebacker-like role as well.

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Shakur Brown Signs to Kansas City’s Practice Squad

In other news, former Steelers cornerback Shakur Brown one was of four players to visit with the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday.

Later in the day, veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson went on to reveal that Kansas City has signed Brown to its practice squad.

Brown was released by Pittsburgh in its third round of cuts, and the team made no effort to bring him back. Yet at one point there was optimism that Brown could grow into the role of slot cornerback. In fact, some NFL analysts believed he was worthy of being drafted as high as the third round, and the Steelers paid him a bonus of $25,000 to entice him to sign as an undrafted free agent. But he didn’t look the part of a slot cornerback in training camp, when his poor 40-yard dash time (4.61) and other below average measurables caught up with him.


Ravens Agree to Injury Settlement with Former Steelers Receiver

In one other bit of transactional news from Friday, Wilson also indicates that the Baltimore Ravens removed wide receiver Deon Cain from the team’s Reserve/Injured list in the wake of an injury settlement.

By all accounts, Cain looked like the most impressive wide receiver at Baltimore’s minicamp in June, having signed him to a one-year Reserve/Future contract in January. He caught five passes for 72 yards for the Steelers in 2019, then spent part of the 2020 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad—elevated for two games in which he played a total of 10 snaps.

He was injured in Baltimore’s preseason finale and was waived/injured on Aug. 31 when the Ravens reduced their roster to 53 players. Thanks to the injury settlement he will not be required to remain on injured reserve all year and is free to sign with another club.

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