Jaguars Sign, Elevate Former Steelers Kicker

Matthew Wright

Getty Images Matthew Wright (No. 16) of the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Cleveland Browns on Jan. 3, 2021.

On Sept. 27 the Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Pittsburgh Steelers placekicker Matthew Wright to the team’s practice squad. On Thursday, the Jaguars elevated him to the active/inactive roster, and according to Ian Rapoport, national insider for NFL Network, Wright will be doing the kicking for the Jaguars tonight (Sept. 30) against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

That’s hardly a surprise, as Jacksonville placekicker Josh Lambo was ruled out of the game on Sept. 29 when Jacksonville released its Wednesday injury/participation report. Lambo’s absence is not injury related, according to the report, which indicates that the issue is “personal.” So it’s worth noting that Lambo has struggled mightily during the first three games of the regular season.

Per Pro Football Reference, Lambo, 30, has missed all three of his field goal attempts this year, and has missed two of his first seven extra-point attempts.


Matthew Wright Lacks Leg Strength, But Offers Accuracy

Matthew Wright would appear to be a good alternative to Lambo, as he has filled in capably whenever he was given an opportunity with the Steelers. Wright, 25, first came to Pittsburgh in 2019 and converted five of six field goals during the preseason that year, which wasn’t enough to beat out incumbent placekicker Chris Boswell.

He returned to the Steelers during the 2020 season, signing to the team’s practice squad after beating out another placekicker (Brandon Wright) in a tryout in mid-November. He went on to make his NFL regular-season debut in a Monday Night Football game vs. Washington after Boswell missed that contest with a hip injury. He went on to kick for the Steelers in two more games after Boswell suffered a groin injury.

Notably, Wright converted all four of his field goal attempts and all seven of his extra-point attempts, as noted by Pro Football Reference (PFR). But leg strength—or lack thereof—is what appears to be keeping him from a full-time NFL job. In his first regular-season game with the Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin eschewed a 45-yard field goal attempt, which seemed to reflect a lack of confidence in Wright’s ability to make a field goal from that distance. Never mind that he is 2-of-2 in his career from 40-plus yards, again as per PFR.

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Wright Signed With the Lions in January 2021

After his contract with the Steelers expired at the end of the 2020 season, he paid a visit to Detroit and signed a one-year Future/Reserve contract with the Lions. But he was waived on Aug. 10, 2021, while in the midst of a training camp competition with Randy Bullock.

Ultimately, the Lions went in a different direction entirely, rolling into the 2021 season with Austin Seibert, a third-year kicker out of Oklahoma.

As for Wright, he’s a native of Lancaster, Pa. who attended the University of Central Florida and remains the school’s record holder in points (375), PATs (212) and field goals (55). That includes a school record 153 PATs in a row, as per ucfknights.com.


Titans Work Out Former Steelers Punter Corliss Waitman

On Thursday there was one other bit of news involving a former Steelers kicker. According to NFL reporter Aaron Wilson, the Tennessee Titans worked out Corliss Waitman, who spent all of the 2020 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad.

The Steelers waived Waitman in early May, just days after selecting Pressley Harvin III in the seventh-round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

In July 2021 Waitman signed a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders, but he was waived on Aug. 23, per Pro Football Reference.

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