Steelers Try Out Former Eagles, Penn State Defensive End

Shareef Miller

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Shareef Miller of the Penn State Nittany Lions tackles La'Darius Jefferson of the Michigan State Spartans on October 13, 2018.

On Tuesday the Philadelphia Eagles released former Penn State defensive end Shareef Miller from the team’s practice squad. On Thursday he got called in for a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but not before he sent out a (now deleted) tweet in which he blasted the Philadelphia Eagles organization, calling it “a horrible place to be.”

To be sure, Miller (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) overpromised and underdelivered during his time in Philadelphia. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft, but was active for just two games during his rookie year and played just two snaps, both on special-teams.

But being nearly invisible during his rookie year didn’t shatter Miller’s confidence, as he went on to guarantee he would record 10 sacks for the Eagles in 2020.

As it turns out, Miller didn’t even make the 53-man roster and was waived before the start of the season. But he landed on his feet, getting claimed on waivers by the Carolina Panthers immediately afterwards. He lasted just four weeks with Carolina before getting waived on October 3rd, after which Philadelphia re-signed him to its practice squad, only to release him again this past Tuesday.

Miller’s size and pass rush skills suggest he might be a better fit as an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme. As fate would have it, the Steelers are looking to add a body at OLB, now that Bud Dupree has been lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Shareef Miller’s Career at Penn State

To get signed by the Steelers, Miller may have to do some explaining about the aforementioned tweet. To get any playing time in Pittsburgh, he’ll have to flash more of the potential he showed at Penn State in 2018, when he was voted third-team All-Big Ten by the league’s coaches and media, and voted the team’s Co-Most Valuable Defensive Player along with Amani Oruwariye.

As for his numbers in 2018: Miller recorded 41 tackles (25 solo), with 15 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 5 quarterback hits and one fumble recovery.

Over the course of his college career, Miller played in 40 games and recorded 100 tackles (58 solo), with 31.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, one forced fumble and two recovered fumbles.

Former Steelers Draft Pick Gets Tryout with Chargers

In other tryout news from Thursday, the Los Angeles Chargers commissioned a session with long snapper Colin Holba, a former sixth-round pick of the Steelers in 2017.

Holba failed to make Pittsburgh’s opening day roster in 2017 and he has since spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, and New York Giants. He had a workout with the Arizona Cardinals in late August and a workout with the Titans in October when Tennessee’s longtime long snapper Beau Brinkley was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

It would not be a surprise if Holba caught on with a team in the coming weeks, however, as many NFL clubs are no doubt thinking like the Steelers and adding backup specialists to their practice squads.

A week ago Tuesday, Pittsburgh signed Christian Kuntz to its practice squad, as he’s a linebacker with a long-snapping background. Then this past Monday the Steelers added a backup placekicker. Pittsburgh has also carried rookie punter Corliss Waitman on its practice squad all season long.

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