On Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have signed 13 players to Reserve/Future contracts. Most of the players spent all or part of the 2020 season on the team’s practice squad, including tight end Kevin Rader, who made his NFL debut in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns and also appeared in the team’s lone postseason game.
Reserve/Future Contract Signings for 2021
WR Anthony Johnson: Pittsburgh added the former All-MAC wide receiver (University of Buffalo) to the practice squad in October. To date, his biggest NFL claim to fame is that he is a first-cousin of former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
WR Cody White: The former Michigan State Spartan was originally signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in late September 2020. In college he caught more passes than former MSU receivers Charles Rodgers, Plaxico Burress and Courtney Hawkins, the latter two of whom played for the Steelers.
OT Anthony Coyle: The former All-Patriot League lineman was signed by the Steelers in April 2020 after playing for the New York Guardians of the XFL. He spent most of the season on the practice squad, but was elevated to the active roster for two games.
OT Brandon Walton: The Steelers signed the Florida Atlantic University product to the practice squad in September. In college he played both left and right tackle and earned first-team All-Conference USA honors for the Owls.
LB Tegray Scales: Scales signed with the Steelers in mid-November and appeared in four games this season (mostly on special teams) before being waived five days ago. He has said he plans to pursue a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) career when his NFL journey comes to an end.
DT Demarcus Christmas: The former sixth-round draft pick of the Seattle Seahawks was added to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in November. He is best suited to be a two-down nose tackle who clogs up interior running lanes, much like he did in college at Florida State.
DE Calvin Taylor: The 6-foot-9 University of Kentucky product signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. He was waived when Mike Tomlin & Co. crafted the opening-day roster, then signed to the practice squad in late September.
P Corliss Waitman: The 25-year-old spent the entire season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. He originally signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL Draft. During his four years at South Alabama he punted 158 times for an average of 42.7 yards per kick.
LB Christian Kuntz: The long-snapping specialist was with the Steelers for parts of 2019 and 2020 before he was signed to the practice squad in late November, where he spent most of the remainder of the season. The Pittsburgh native—who played at Duquesne University—collected 30.5 sacks in college and is a two-time winner of the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year award.
OT John Leglue: Leglue was a late-season addition to Pittsburgh’s practice squad who played his college football at Tulane. He entered the NFL in the spring of 2019 with the Denver Broncos and has since spent time on the practice squads of both the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.
S John Battle: Battle is a former XFL player who was with the Steelers in training camp this past summer. He was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in September.
CB Trevor Williams: The Steelers inked the former Los Angeles Chargers starter to the practice squad prior to the team’s Wild Card round game against the Browns. The former undrafted free agent (Penn State) has been injury prone (knee, quad, ribs), which has held him back from holding onto a job.
Jarron Jones Update
One practice squad player who was not signed to a futures contract is offensive tackle Jarron Jones, who was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, strangulation and simple assault back in October but managed to retain his spot on the practice squad through most of the season. He was placed on the practice squad injured reserve list in late December.
Placekicker Matthew Wright?
Meanwhile, ‘backup’ placekicker Matthew Wright was also not signed to a futures deal, which suggests he believes he can catch on with a kicker-needy NFL team. Wright doesn’t possess the leg strength one would like to see in an NFL placekicker, but during the three games in which he subbed in for Chris Boswell he converted all of his field goal and extra-point attempts, four and seven, respectively.
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