Falcons Poach Steelers Linebacker; Justin Layne Waived by Bears

Bears CB Justin Layne

Mike Stobe/Getty Images Justin Layne of the Chicago Bears looks on during a game against the New York Jets on November 27, 2022.

On Dec. 20, 2022, the Atlanta Falcons signed outside linebacker David Anenih off the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad, adding him to the 53-man roster as a replacement for injured running back Caleb Huntley (ruptured Achilles). Anenih originally joined the Steelers on Sept. 15, when he was signed to Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster after T.J. Watt suffered a pectoral injury in the season-opener.

When he came to Pittsburgh, Anenih was coming off an impressive preseason with the Tennessee Titans, during which he produced three sacks, two forced fumbles, two passes defensed and one tackle for loss. But he was inactive for all three games in which he remained on Pittsburgh’s roster — the required minimum — before he was waived and then re-signed to the practice squad on Oct. 11.

Anenih has yet to appear in a regular-season game, but he figures to get his first opportunity to do so with the Falcons, who are 5-9 and return to action on Christmas Eve when they visit the Baltimore Ravens. The 6-foot-2 linebacker came into the league with the Titans, who signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 draft.

Before that he starred at the University of Houston and recorded 18.5 sacks for the Cougars over the course of 54 games. He was also credited with 93 total tackles (53 solo), with 28 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed and three forced fumbles.

Pittsburgh now has a vacant spot on its 16-man practice squad, a vacancy that will likely get filled within the next 48 hours.

Former Steelers CB Justin Layne Waived by Bears

Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon the Chicago Bears waived former Steelers third-round draft pick Justin Layne, who was drafted No. 83 overall in 2019 out of Michigan State.

The 6-foot-2 cornerback appeared in 43 games for the Steelers over the course of three seasons, during which time he contributed 41 tackles (28 solo) and one fumble recovery.

But he played just 145 snaps on defense during his time with the Steelers, which is why he was viewed as a top cut candidate in 2022 as training camp approached. Predictably, Layne was waived on Aug. 30, but he was claimed by the New York Giants the next day. He went to appear in seven games for Big Blue and recorded four solo tackles over the course of 11 defensive snaps and 91 special teams snaps.

Layne, 24, was waived by the Giants on Nov. 14 and claimed by the Bears the next day. He played a total of 15 special teams in two games with the Bears, as per Pro Football Reference.

Ex-Steelers LB Ola Adeniyi Has Visit With Jaguars

In other news, former Steelers linebacker Ola Adeniyi had a visit with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 19, as per James Layton of Red Zone Insider and the NFL’s daily personnel notice.

It was only a week ago that the Steelers made a move to sign Adeniyi, a day after he was released by the Titans. But as noted by Adam Schefter of ESPN, Adeniyi failed his physical, making him a free agent.

Adeniyi, 25, appeared in 32 games over the course of three seasons in Pittsburgh.

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