With Damontae Kazee starting the season on injured reserve, it was a good bet that the Pittsburgh Steelers would use one of their remaining practice squad spots to add reinforcements at the safety position.
Adams, 29, entered the NFL in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Connecticut and went on to start 13 games during his rookie year.
“Only first-round pick Keanu Neal and second-round selection Vonn Bell started more games than Adams among rookie safeties in 2016,” noted ESPN staff writer Jordan Ranaan in 2017. He played a second season in New York before spending the last four years with Tampa Bay, winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2020. He returned to the Giants this year but was released on August 26.
All told, he has appeared in 87 games and has been credited with 190 tackles (152 solo), including six tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 23 passes defensed, four quarterback hits and two forced fumbles, as per Pro Football Reference. Three of his seven career interceptions came during one 2018 game against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.
Last year he appeared in 14 games for the Buccaneers (with three starts), during which time he recorded 24 tackles (16 solo), including one tackle for loss, one interception, one quarterback hit and four passes defensed. More notably, perhaps, he earned a 76.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, with an 81.5 run defense grade and 68.0 coverage grade.
The Steelers Have 2 Safeties on Injured Reserve
The Steelers go into the regular season with Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds at free and strong safety, respectively. Tre Norwood and special teams ace Miles Killebrew are behind Fitzpatrick on the depth chart, while Edmunds’ primary backup — Damontae Kazee — is expected to be out “between 6-8 weeks if all goes well,” according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. Safety Karl Joseph is out for the year, having suffered a season-ending ankle injury during Pittsburgh’s preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks.
The only other safety on the practice squad is Elijah Riley, who was claimed on waivers from the New York Jets on August 24. Elijah has also played with the Philadelphia Eagles since coming into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Army.
Browns Sign 2 Former Steelers
In other news, on Monday the Browns announced that they have signed two ex-Steelers, including offensive lineman Joe Haeg. The other is former Steelers tight end Jesse James, who has been added to the team’s 53-man roster as a third tight end.
James, 28, worked out for the Browns on September 1. He was a fifth-round pick of the Steelers in 2015 and appeared in 56 games over the course of four seasons in Pittsburgh, catching 120 passes for 1,189 yards and nine TDs.
James signed a four-year, $22.6 million contract with the Detroit Lions in 2019 but was released after just two seasons. He played for the Chicago Bears in 2021 and appeared in 14 games (with nine starts) but caught just seven passes for 62 yards and one touchdown.