Steelers Claim ‘Tenacious’ Ex-Jets, Eagles Safety

Elijah Riley Jets

Getty Images Rob Gronkowski of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by Elijah Riley of the New York Jets on January 2, 2022.

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers made four roster moves, headlined by the addition of former New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles safety Elijah Riley, who was waived by the Jets on August 23.

Riley, 24, is a Long Island native who originally came into the NFL with the Eagles after going undrafted out of Army. Though he failed to make Philadelphia’s roster as a rookie, he was added to the practice squad and went on to appear in five games for the Eagles in 2020, with almost all of his action coming on special teams.

Last season he again spent time on Philly’s practice squad and appeared in one game before he was poached by the Jets, for whom he played a much more significant role, starting seven games and playing 386 snaps on defense, according to Pro Football Reference.

Thus far in his NFL career, Riley — who is listed as being 6-feet-tall and 205 pounds — has appeared in 13 regular-season games and has been credited with 45 tackles for loss, including three tackles for loss, one sack and one quarterback hit.

Riley was credited with three tackles in his last preseason game with the Jets, including a big hit on Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Feleipe Franks, one that sent the 6-foot-6 second-year signal caller flying.

Elijah Riley is ‘Compact and Tenacious’

Coming out of Army, analyst Lance Zierlein described the former Black Knights captain as a “compact and tenacious” outside cornerback without the speed and cover traits to play that position in the NFL.

“He doesn’t have very good range in coverage or in run support, but he does possess decent ball skills and plenty of toughness when camped underneath. He has toughness and play strength that allow him to re-route and roam near the line of scrimmage as a box defender,” said Zierlein.

Likewise, Army Black Knights writer Kaylah Jackson has described him as an “extremely physical” player, and one the best defensive backs at Army in the past decade.

That said, he finished his Black Knights career with 44 games played, during which he amassed 201 tackles, including 17.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 28 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries.

To make room for Riley the Steelers waived safety Donovan Stiner, who originally signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Florida following the 2021 draft. He began last season on the practice squad and was brought back in January 2022 on a one-year Reserve/Futures contract.

Riley will wear No. 33 with the Steelers, the same jersey number he wore with the Jets.

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Skipper and Teague Receive Injury Settlements

In other roster news, the Steelers cut edge rusher Tuzar Skipper and running back Master Teague III from injured reserve with injury settlements, as per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

The Steelers signed former camp phenom Tuzar Skipper in early June but he was waived-injured in mid-August. As for Ohio State product Master Teague, he was inked by Pittsburgh on August 3, but was injured during practice on August 16, when he was carted off the field with a left ankle injury.

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