On Monday the Tennessee Titans waived former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Derwin Gray to make room for former Houston Texans lineman Carson Green. The roster move gives Pittsburgh the opportunity to possibly re-claim Gray, having lost him to a waiver claim by the Jacksonville Jaguars late in the 2020 season.
The Steelers waived Gray on December 26, 2020, owing to a temporary shortage of manpower at inside linebacker. He played in five games for the Steelers that season, without giving up a sack or committing a penalty, as per Pro Football Reference (PFR).
It marked the second time in little more than a year that the Steelers lost a promising offensive lineman on waivers, as the Bengals put in a claim for offensive tackle Fred Johnson in mid-October 2019. Between 2019-21, Johnson appeared in 23 games for the Bengals, including eight starts, according to PFR.
As for Gray: After getting claimed by the Jaguars, he remained in Jacksonville until late August 2021, when he was waived and claimed by the Titans. The 27-year-old — who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds — was Pittsburgh’s seventh-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was selected No. 219 overall out of the University of Maryland.
5 Former Steelers Nominated for the College Football Hall of Fame
Meanwhile, on June 6, 2022, the National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced the names on the 2023 ballot for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Five former Steelers players are on the ballot, headlined by: Levon Kirkland (inside linebacker, Clemson); Heath Miller (tight end, Virginia); and Antwaan Randle El (who played wide receiver for the Steelers but was a quarterback in college at Indiana). Also included: running back DeAngelo Williams (who spent the 2015-16 seasons in Pittsburgh) and offensive tackle Flozell Adams, the latter of whom played just one season with the Steelers (2010).
Also nominated is Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, the late father of Steelers All-Pro defensive end Cameron Heyward and Steelers rookie tight end Connor Heyward.
Randle El, Kirkland, Adams and Heyward were all on the ballot last year as well.
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Steelers Ink Yet Another 2022 Draft Pick
Also on Monday, the Steelers announced that they have signed rookie wide receiver Calvin Austin III (Memphis) to a four-year contract.
Austin is one of two wide receivers selected by the Steelers in the most recent draft, the other being George Pickens (University of Georgia). Austin has been widely regarded as one of the biggest Day 3 draft steals; by taking him No. 138 overall, Pittsburgh foiled Baltimore’s plan to select him one pick later.
Only one member of Pittsburgh’s 2022 draft class remains unsigned, that being quarterback Kenny Pickett, who was selected in the first round (No. 20 overall).
Meanwhile, reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt is no longer the highest-paid defender in the NFL.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has agreed to a re-worked contract that will see him get paid $95 over the next three seasons. In September 2021 the Steelers signed Watt to a four-year contract extension worth $28.003 million per year.
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