Ex-Steelers Lineman Returns to the Chiefs

Stefen Wisniewski

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images Kansas City Chiefs lineman Stefen Wisniewski (#61) reacts during Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

It came as something of a surprise when the Pittsburgh Steelers released offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski on November 7th. Sure, the 10-year veteran had struggled to recover from a pectoral injury suffered in the season-opener against the New York Giants—an injury that landed him on injured reserve on September 18th and kept him there until November 4th. But it was still perplexing that Mike Tomlin & Co. let him go and didn’t make an effort to bring him back, especially after rookie guard Kevin Dotson landed on the COVID-19 Reserve list on November 14th, where he remains today.

Nevertheless, Wisniewski now has another employer. On Tuesday, the Kansas Chiefs announced that they signed Wisniewski to their practice squad, reuniting him with head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, with whom he won a Super Bowl in 2019.

Wisniewski, 31, was a second-round draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2011. After spending four seasons with the Raiders, he started at center for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015, then moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles for three seasons, winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2017.

Le’Veon Bell Update

Wisniewski’s return to the Chiefs brings to mind another former Steelers player, running back Le’Veon Bell, who hasn’t experienced as much personal success as Kansas City fans might have expected since he signed on after getting released by the Jets.

During the four games Bell has played with Kansas City, he has 23 carries for 79 yards, an average of just 3.4 yards per attempt. He also has five receptions for 37 yards for an average of 7.4 yards per catch, averages that are below what he recorded with the Jets this season. On the other hand, he did score a touchdown on a six-yard run in the team’s most recent game, a 35-31 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

ESPN Re-Visits Mike Tomlin’s Sideline Sidestep

While you’re waiting for Thursday night’s highly-anticipated Thanksgiving night showdown between the Ravens and Steelers, you might want to take a few minutes to re-visit what happened the last time the Steelers played the Ravens on Thanksgiving (2013). ESPN’s Jamison Hensley has a compelling retrospective of Mike Tomlin’s “sideline sidestep,” when he took a step onto the field as Ravens kick returner Jacoby Jones was racing past him on his way to a possible kickoff return touchdown.

As it happens, Tomlin’s sidestep appears to have slowed Jones just a little—but enough for him to get caught from behind by Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen. Hensley talks to coaches and players who were involved in the game that night, to try to determine whether the Steelers head coach acted intentionally. For his part, Tomlin has always insisted that he was “watching the JumboTron and lost track of where [he] was.”

According to the ESPN article, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh asked the officials to award Baltimore a touchdown on the play but his request was denied. The Ravens were held to a field goal on the subsequent drive but went on to win the game, 22-20.

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