Ex-Steelers Linebacker Returns, Replacing the LB Who Replaced Him Last Year

Jamir Jones Steelers

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images Jamir Jones #44 and Chris Wormley #95 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2021.

Perhaps former Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert liked Derrek Tuszka better than Jamir Jones, and new Steelers G.M. Omar Khan prefers it the other way around.

Regardless, on Thursday the Steelers made a successful waiver claim for outside linebacker Jamir Jones — and waived Derrek Tuszka to make room for him on the 53-man roster.

Notably, it was Tuszka who replaced Jones on the roster early last season, a week after Jones started in place of an injured T.J. Watt. The Steelers planned to re-sign Jones to the practice squad after he cleared waivers, but alas he was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, making Jones the second outside linebacker the Steelers lost to a waiver claim that month, with 2021 sixth-round pick Quincy Roche being the other.

Now he’s back in the fold, and figures to serve as the No. 4 outside linebacker behind T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith, and recent trade acquisition Malik Reed, who came over from the Denver Broncos (along with a 2023 seventh-round pick) in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick.

Jones Was Waived by the Jaguars on August 31

It was just two days ago that Jamir Jones made the 53-man roster of the Jacksonville Jaguars, only to get waived less than 24 hours later.

He’s coming off a season in which he appeared in 15 regular-season games for the Steelers, Rams and Jaguars, having played a total of 112 snaps on defense and 250 more on special teams, according to Pro Football Reference. He recorded 10 tackles during those games (seven solo), with a pair of quarterback hits, and one very memorable punt block, which came during his Rams debut.

He was originally discovered by the Steelers at Notre Dame’s 2021 Pro Day, taking a break from his retail job at Champs Sports in upstate New York to work out for Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin. He was signed by the Steelers shortly after that workout and went on to have a standout preseason, in which he beat out 2021 sixth-round pick Quincy Roche and journeyman Cassius Marsh for a place on the 53-man roster.

As for Derrek Tuszka, he entered the NFL as a seventh-round pick of the Denver Broncos, selected No. 254 overall out of North Dakota State after winning Missouri Valley Football Conference Player of the Year in 2019. He was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad on September 1, 2020, and elevated from the practice squad less than four weeks later.

Tuszka went on to play in 15 games for the Steelers last season and recorded 18 tackles (nine solo), with two sacks, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits and a forced fumble.

All told he has played in 24 regular-season games and has been credited with a total of 24 tackles, as per Pro Football Reference.

The Steelers Like Jamir Jones Better Than Quincy Roche?

Incidentally, the Steelers had the opportunity to reclaim 2021 sixth-round pick Quincy Roche on Wednesday, as he was waived by the New York Giants a day earlier. But Roche went unclaimed and New York subsequently added him to its practice squad.

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