Steelers Bring Back Longtime Punter; Pressley Harvin ‘Apparently is Injured’: Report

Steelers punter Jordan Berry

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images Jordan Berry of the Pittsburgh Steelers punts the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 18, 2018.

On Tuesday morning Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to sign punter Jordan Berry to the team’s practice squad.

Berry, 31, served as Pittsburgh’s punter for six seasons (2015-20) before the Steelers selected Pressley Harvin III in the seventh-round of the 2021 draft. Harvin subsequently beat out Berry in a “down to the wire” preseason battle last summer, and the Australia native went on to kick for the Minnesota Vikings last season.

Berry looks to be insurance in case Harvin isn’t healthy enough to play against the New York Jets on Sunday. At his press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin revealed that the 24-year-old Harvin is suffering from hip inflammation.

Pressley Harvin and Jordan Berry Compared

It’s worth noting that Jordan Berry had arguably his best NFL season with the Vikings in 2021, with the fact that Minnesota plays indoors perhaps a contributing factor. In 17 games last year he punted 78 times for 3,624 yards, good for a career-high average of 46.5 yards per punt.

Meanwhile, Harvin played in 15 games as a rookie, missing two games towards the end of the season while he was on bereavement leave. Over the course of 70 punts, he averaged 42.6 yards per kick.

The Steelers had a chance to potentially replace Harvin with Corliss Waitman, who excelled during the two games in which he filled in for the rookie, punting seven times for 365 yards, an average of 52.1 yards per punt. That would have been good enough to lead the league, if he had enough punts to qualify for the rankings.

But the Steelers elected to waive Waitman to allow for the return of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and not surprisingly, Waitman was claimed by the Denver Broncos. This summer, the 27-year-old Waitman engaged in a training camp/preseason competition with Denver’s incumbent, and beat out Sam Martin, who was a top 5 punter statistically in 2021.

Waitman — who has been described as a “small sample size All-Star” — is off to a solid, if unspectacular start this season. In three games he has punted 17 times for an average of 45.4 yards per kick and is among the league leaders in terms of most punts inside the 20 (8). And despite the fact that he is tied for the NFL lead in terms of most punts, opposing punt returners have totaled a mere 47 yards.

No word yet on who is getting released from the practice squad to make room for Berry.

Steelers Injury Update

Notably, Pressley Harvin isn’t the only Steelers player who might miss the Jets game.

At his Tuesday press conference, Tomlin revealed the existence of three new injuries, with All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in concussion protocol and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon hampered by a hamstring injury suffered against the Cleveland Browns last Thursday night.

Last but not least, starting left guard Kevin Dotson is contending with an ankle injury, as noted by Brooke Pryor of ESPN.

If Dotson can’t go against the Jets on Sunday he would likely be replaced by former third-round pick Kendrick Green. Ahkello Witherspoon is backed up by former undrafted free agent James Pierre, while Tre Norwood is behind Minkah Fitzpatrick on the depth chart.

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