Steelers Sign 3, Place Camp ‘Standout’ on Injured Reserve

Rico Bussey vs. Minkah Fitzpatrick

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Mike Tomlin looks on while Rico Bussey (#84) battles for a ball against Minkah Fitzpatrick (#39) during training camp at Heinz Field on July 29, 2021.

Last week the Pittsburgh Steelers released defensive end Henry Mondeaux to make room on the roster for trade acquisition Ahkello Witherspoon (CB, Seattle Seahawks). On Tuesday, Pittsburgh brought Mondeaux back, signing him to the team’s practice squad along with two other new players.

Now Mondeaux will be close at hand in case the team needs a quick infusion of depth on the defensive line, a distinct possibility with Stephon Tuitt out of action until at least October. The Oregon product made his NFL debut last October, when on he played on offense, defense and special teams against the Tennessee Titans. All told, Mondeaux appeared in 11 games last year, responsible for five total tackles as well as two quarterback hits.

OLB Delontae Scott

As for the newcomers, the first of the two is edge rusher Delontae Scott, 24, who was originally signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft. Scott—who is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds—played his college ball at SMU, where he appeared in 40 career games and contributed 97 total tackles (including 36 tackles for loss), plus 18 sacks and five forced fumbles. He really blossomed as a senior, when he had 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles, leading one analyst to describe him as a “one-man wrecking crew for SMU.” Scott was released when Green Bay made its final round of preseason cuts last week.

WR Tyler Vaughns

The other new addition is wide receiver Tyler Vaughns, who was signed by the Indianapolis Colts following the 2021 NFL Draft as an undrafted free agent. Vaughns—who is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds—played at USC, where he had 222 receptions for 2,810 yards and 20 touchdowns over the course of four seasons.

Practice Squad Receiver Goes to Injured Reserve

It’s likely that the Steelers elected to add a wide receiver because one of its existing practice squad wideouts, Rico Bussey, was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Bussey made headlines in late July when he had a “standout practice” that had observers likening him to a young Antonio Brown. Bussey was unable to maintain his playmaking ways through the remainder of camp and the preseason, and he failed to make the 53-man roster.

But the Steelers no doubt want to keep him close at hand to see if the undrafted rookie free agent can develop into a roster player. Bussey played the latter portion of his college career at Hawaii (2020), but his best ball came at North Texas, where he caught 128 passes for 1,914 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Mean Green.

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Cowboys Ink Ex-Steelers Offensive Lineman

In yet another bit of recent transactional news, Dallas signed ex-Steelers offensive tackle Aviante Collins to its practice squad on Monday. Collins was with the Steelers for much of 2021, having signed a one year Reserve/Future contract in February. But he was waived on Aug. 24th.

Also on Monday, the New Orleans Saints placed former Steelers tight end Nick Vannett on injured reserve. Vannett joined the Saints in March, despite a lackluster year with Denver in 2020 and a similarly underwhelming campaign with Pittsburgh in 2019.

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