Steelers Starter a Surprise Addition to Injury Report

Eric Ebron

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Eric Ebron of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during training camp at Heinz Field on July 29, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelersinjury report on Thursday, September 16, included a brand-new name, that of starting tight end Eric Ebron, who did not practice due to a hamstring injury. Ebron is one of two Steelers who was held out of practice, the other being second-year defensive tackle Carlos Davis, who was “limited” on Wednesday due to a knee injury.

Otherwise, the team remains remarkably healthy, with inside linebacker Robert Spillane a full participant in practice on Thursday after being “limited” a day earlier. Spillane suffered a shin injury during pregame warmups last weekend, but he is expected to play when the team takes on the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field.

The only other names on Thursday’s injury report were quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, both of whom were held out of practice on Wednesday (as usual, per “coach’s decision”). Both were full participants on Thursday.

If Ebron can’t go against the Raiders, rookie second-round pick Pat Freiermuth would start in his place. According to Pro Football Reference, Ebron played 27 offensive snaps against the Buffalo Bills in the season-opener and caught one pass for 27 yards. Freiermuth played 29 offensive snaps and had one reception for 24 yards.

If it turns out Davis can’t play on Sunday, he might be replaced by rookie fifth-round pick Isaiahh Loudermilk. An even more likely option would be practice squad defensive end Henry Mondeaux, who was released in early September when the team traded for cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon but was re-signed just days later.

Mondeaux — a former undrafted free agent from the University of Oregon — made his NFL debut in October 2020. He went on to appear in a total of 11 Steelers games last season, credited with five total tackles as well as two quarterback hits.

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The Raiders’ Injury/Participation Report Is Extensive

As for Sunday’s opposition, Las Vegas listed 18 players on its injury report on Thursday, though six of those were full participants in practice.

The most significant names on the list are that of offensive guard Denzelle Good, who suffered a torn ACL in the Raiders’ season-opener against Baltimore and was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Wednesday, much like defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the same game.

Also not practicing on Thursday were quarterback Marcus Mariota (quad), safety Roderic Teamer (ankle), linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (concussion) and running back Josh Jacobs, the latter of whom has been hobbled by toe and ankle injuries.

Mariota, the team’s No. 2 quarterback, aggravated an existing quad issue on a rushing attempt vs. Baltimore, his only play of the game.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Mariota is expected to miss “multiple weeks.”

That means former University of Pittsburgh quarterback Nathan Peterman, 27, moves into the backup role.


Transactions of Particular Interest to Steelers Fans

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Ravens elected to promote former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to the team’s 53-man roster instead of former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell was named as one of Baltimore’s four “protected” practice squad players for this week.

In addition, on Wednesday Cincinnati signed former Steelers safety Sean Davis to its practice squad. Davis lost his practice squad job with the Colts a day earlier when Indianapolis terminated his contract.

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