Steelers Make Final Decision on Long Snapper: Report

Kameron Canaday

Grant Halverson/Getty Images Kameron Canaday of the Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the team’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on August 29, 2019.

For the first time since 2017, there has been serious competition for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ long snapper job. That year, Kameron Canaday beat out rookie sixth-round pick Colin Holba for the gig. This year, it’s Canaday who is on the losing end of a ‘down to the wire’ training camp/preseason competition.

According to NFL Network National Insider Ian Rapoport, the Steelers are “parting ways” with Canaday, with the transaction expected to become official on Tuesday.

That means that linebacker Christian Kuntz, 27, has won the job, as the two have been engaged in direct competition all summer long.

He takes over for the 28-year-old Canaday, who has been Pittsburgh’s long snapper for the past four years, appearing in all 64 of the team’s regular season games during that time period. Canaday is a former undrafted free agent out of Portland State who originally came into the NFL with Arizona in 2016. He played in three games for the Cardinals that year before joining the Steelers the following season.

Christian Kuntz Was a Three-Time All-American at Duquesne

As for Kuntz, he was signed to a one-year Reserve/Future contract in mid-January after spending the latter part of last season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. The Steelers were already familiar with the Pittsburgh native when they worked him out in mid-November of last year, as he was with them between March and August and also spent time with the team in 2019.

Long snapping ability aside, Kuntz may be perceived as an upgrade over Canaday in terms of tackling ability. After all, Kuntz was a three-time All-American linebacker at Duquesne University, where he authored 30.5 sacks and won the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year award twice.

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Wide Receiver Rico Bussey Ticketed for Practice Squad?

In other roster cut news, Brooke Pryor of ESPN reports that undrafted free agent wide receiver Rico Bussey is going to be released on Tuesday. Pryor also indicates that the Steelers plan to sign Bussey to the practice squad later this week, assuming he isn’t claimed on waivers.

Bussey was an early-in-training camp darling after he had a “show stealer” of a practice in late July. But he was unable to maintain that momentum, hence his inability to move into a Top 5 or Top 6 role. But Bussey—who has been wearing Antonio Brown’s old number, No. 84—would seem to have enough upside potential to earn regular-season playing time at some point in the future.

In 2018, he had an impressive season for North Texas, catching 68 passes for 1,1017 yards and 12 touchdowns. After suffering a torn ACL in 2019, he transferred to the University of Hawaii. He wasn’t nearly as successful as a member of the Rainbow Warriors, catching just 31 passes for 274 yards in eight games last year.

Like all other teams, Pittsburgh can sign 16 players to its practice squad on Sept. 1, after released players clear waivers.

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