Steelers’ Practice Squad Kicker Set to Make NFL Debut

Matthew Wright

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images Placekicker Matthew Wright attempting a field goal for the Pittsburgh Steelers during a preseason game in 2019.

On Monday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers made a trio of roster moves in anticipation of the game against the Washington Football Team.

First and foremost, the team elevated placekicker Matthew Wright from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster. As such, it’s almost a certainty that regular kicker Chris Boswell will be inactive on Monday evening as a result of his hip injury, which led the Steelers to downgrade him to “doubtful” the day before the game.

Wright originally signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Central Florida after the 2019 NFL Draft. He converted five of six field goal attempts during the 2019 preseason, but was released prior to the start of the regular season. He was signed to the practice squad a week ago, not long after the Steelers brought him in—along with another placekicker—for a tryout. If Wright kicks for the Steelers on Monday, it will be his regular-season debut in the NFL.

Steelers COVID-19 Update

On Monday the Steelers also made two other roster moves relating to the team’s offensive line situation.

First, the team activated offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins off the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Hawkins came back to the Steelers in September after a stint with the Houston Texans. He has appeared in eight games this season, but hasn’t played since being added to the reserve list on November 27th.

Second, the team elevated offensive lineman Anthony Coyle from the practice squad to the Active/Inactive roster as a COVID-19 replacement. Coyle, who was also elevated for the game against the Baltimore Ravens, was signed by the Steelers in the offseason after he played for the New York Guardians of the XFL.

Coyle’s NFL journey got underway in 2018 when he signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent. He has also spent time on the practice squads of the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons.

Coyle was twice named first-team All-Patriot League at Fordham, where he played in 48 games (34 at left tackle, 10 at right tackle) during his college career.

Pittsburgh now has just two players on its Reserve/COVID-19 list: center Maurkice Pouncey and running back James Conner, the latter of whom has reportedly tested positive for the virus.

My Cause, My Cleats

As noted yesterday, several Pittsburgh Steelers players—including Cam Heyward and Joe Haden—will be wearing custom cleats during Monday’s game in support of various charities.

The players’ cleats will be auctioned off (via NFL Auction), with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the individually named charities.

Washington Football Team Injury Update

Washington has listed three players as questionable for Monday’s game at Pittsburgh, including defensive end Ryan Anderson (knee) and offensive tackle Morgan Moses (groin).

But the most significant “questionable” player is wide receiver Terry McLaurin (#17), a former third-round pick (76th overall, Ohio State, 2019), who already has 69 catches for 963 yards this season, including 445 total yards after the catch.

In less than two years in the league, McLaurin has 127 receptions and 10 touchdowns, despite playing with five different quarterbacks.

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