On Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers waived offensive lineman Derwin Gray, just five days after he saw the most extensive playing time of his young career. Gray—a seventh-round pick of the Steelers in the 2019 NFL draft—played 16 snaps on offense against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, plus three snaps on special teams, splitting time at left guard with backup center J.C. Hassenauer.
In the five games in which Gray appeared for the Steelers this season, the University of Maryland product didn’t allow a sack or commit a penalty.
Presumably, the Steelers considered Gray expendable because of the impending return of rookie guard Kevin Dotson, who missed the Bengals game with a shoulder injury. But Gray’s release is still something of a surprise, as the Steelers remain thin at guard with Matt Feiler on injured reserve with a pectoral injury. (Feiler isn’t eligible to return until the postseason.)
Kicker Matthew Wright Elevated From Practice Squad
On Saturday the Steelers also elevated placekicker Matthew Wright from the practice squad to the active/inactive roster. As such, it’s a good bet that kicker Chris Boswell is going to miss his second game of the season on Sunday, this time with a groin injury.
Three weeks ago, Wright made his NFL regular-season debut against Washington and converted 2-of-2 extra point attempts and a 37-yard field goal. At the time, Boswell was ailing with a hip injury.
Wright was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in late November after beating out Brandon Wright in a tryout. He also kicked for the Steelers in the 2019 preseason, when he made five of six field goal attempts.
LB Tegray Scales Signed to 53-Man Roster
In one other roster move on Saturday, the Steelers added inside linebacker Tegray Scales to the active/inactive roster. Scales was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on November 11th and has since appeared in two games—at Buffalo and at Cincinnati. In both of those contests he played exclusively on special teams, getting three snaps and 10 snaps in those games, respectively.
Scales played his college football at Indiana, where he recorded 325 tackles and 18 sacks. He originally came into the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Steelers are still decidedly thin at inside linebacker—not to mention the linebacker position in general—even with the anticipated return of Vince Williams, who recently came off the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
On Friday the Steelers placed linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Linebackers Marcus Allen (stinger) and Ola Adeniyi (shoulder) are both questionable for the Colts game, with Allen having missed all three of the team’s practices this week and Adeniyi a participant in Friday’s practice (only).
Browns Place 4 WRs on Reserve/COVID-19 List
If the Steelers beat the Colts on Sunday afternoon, then Pittsburgh clinches the AFC North division title. The Steelers can also clinch with a Browns loss at the New York Jets. So it’s notable that Cleveland placed its top 4 wide receivers—Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge—on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday, as well as linebackers B.J. Goodson and Jacob Phillips.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports that the four receivers were placed on the COVID list because they are considered high-risk close contacts, while Goodson has tested positive for the virus.
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