Steelers Sign Ex-Cowboys Lineman to Bolster Defense

Getty Cowboys DE Ron'Dell Carter participates in practice drills.

It’s that time of year when your team signs a player, and you say, “Who?” These guys are known as “camp bodies” — a player who eats up reps so projected rostered players don’t have to.

The Pittsburgh Steelers did precisely that on August 8 with the acquisition of journeyman linebacker Ron’Dell Carter following a successful workout (per the NFL transaction wire). In a corresponding roster move, linebacker T.D. Moultry was waived/injured.

Carter, a defensive end, played his collegiate ball at Rutgers (2015-2016) before transferring to James Madison, where he registered 152 tackles (69 solo), 48.0 tackles for loss, 23.0 sacks, four passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 44 games.

A linebacker at the pro level, Carter has bounced around the league since the Dallas Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL draft. He was part of Dallas’ final roster cuts but resigned to the practice squad. A few weeks later, the Indianapolis Colts poached Carter for their practice squad. In the five games Carter was on the active roster, he was declared inactive.

On November 10, 2020, after being waived by the Colts, he briefly returned to Dallas. He appeared in three games in the final four games of the 2020 season, recording an assisted tackle.

From there, Carter had two stints with the Arizona Cardinals and played in one game with the Houston Texans. He projects as an edge-rusher in the Steelers’ system.

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Ramping Things Up

The Steelers are ramping things up; they are only five days away from their first preseason tilt with the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, August 13.

According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and staff “went heavy” on game situations at the August 8 practice.

“It’s a big day for us, hitting some elements of situational football and continue to introduce those components of the game to them and teach and learn,” Tomlin told reporters. “We’ll be in a stadium at the end of the week. That’s the reality of it. There needs to be a certain level of preparedness.”

Making that preparation a little more complicated are injuries that inevitably occur as practices ramp up. Per camp reports, Diontae Johnson (hip flexor), Alex Highsmith (ribs), Kevin Dotson (ankle), and linebacker Genard Avery (groin) did not finish practice.

“We’ll get those guys evaluated, and hopefully, they can be described as day-to-day,” Tomlin said.

Chase Claypool (shoulder), who’s missed practice since July 29, was limited in pads. Joe Rutter reported that Claypool did end practice with a wrap on his shoulder. He was not mentioned in the injury rundown of Tomlin’s press conference, nor was linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III who ESPN’s Brooke Pryor spotted in a walking boot.

In typical Tomlin fashion, he chalked up the laundry list of injuries as “things associated with this
time of year.”

Pat Freiermuth returned to the field after also having missed practice since the 29th with hamstring tightness. Another big get is Tyson Alualu (knee). As a precaution, he started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, but Tomlin said he’s “able to begin his process.” The return of Alualu, 35, is a great sign considering how badly the Steelers’ run defense suffered after he went to injured reserve after Week 2 in 2021.

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