Ex-Steelers LB Promoted by Bucs; James Washington Joins NFC Playoff Team

James Washington Steelers

Joe Sargent/Getty Images James Washington of the Pittsburgh Steelers catches a touchdown pass against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field on November 14, 2021.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have failed to make the NFL playoffs, but a handful of former Steelers still have the opportunity to chase a Super Bowl ring. That includes former Steelers outside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III, who signed to the 53-man roster of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 10, getting promoted from the practice squad in the wake of an injury to Buccaneers cornerback Anthony Chesley.

Gilbert has been with the Buccaneers since October 11, when he joined Tampa Bay’s practice squad. In the intervening months he has been promoted to the active roster three different times, playing a total of 64 special teams snaps and making four tackles in games against the Seahawks, Browns and Saints.

Gilbert, 25, first entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in 2019 and appeared in 28 games with Pittsburgh between 2019-21, during which time he recorded 25 tackles (17 solo), as per Pro Football Reference. He started 2022 with the Steelers but was waived in August after suffering a foot injury during training camp.

Injuries have been an issue for Gilbert throughout his pro career. A fractured L-5 vertebra in his lower back sidelined him for the second half of his rookie year. He also spent part of his second season on injured reserve with back injury and ankle injuries.

Ex-Steelers WR James Washington Signs With Giants

Meanwhile, on January 11 the New York Giants announced that former Steelers second-round pick James Washington has signed to the team’s practice squad. As noted by Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the roster move came a day after Washington participated in a tryout that also included quarterback Nathan Rourke and wide receiver Adam Humphries.

It’s been a challenging season for the Oklahoma State product, who signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys in mid-March 2022. Washington was expected to serve as a depth receiver for the Cowboys but had to be carted off with a foot injury early in training camp. As it turns out, he suffered a fractured foot that required surgery that kept him sidelined for almost the entire regular-season.

Washington, 26, was released by the Cowboys on January 4, 2023, having appeared in just two games. He played a total of 28 snaps (including 13 special teams snaps) and did not catch a pass.

Washington was selected No. 60 overall by the Steelers in the 2018 NFL Draft and played four seasons in Pittsburgh. From 2018-21 he appeared in 60 games and made 25 starts, during which time he recorded 114 receptions for 1,629 yards (14.3 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns.

The Steelers Signed 10 Players to Futures/Reserve Contracts

That said, the the Steelers have already signed 10 players to futures/reserve contracts for 2023. All spent time on the team’s practice squad during the past year.

The list includes linebacker Emeke Egbule, center Ryan McCollum and tight end Rodney Williams, plus running backs Jason Huntley and Master Teague, as well as defensive backs Duke Dawson and Scott Nelson and wide receivers Cody White and Ja’Marcus Bradley. Cody White is the son of Steelers Director of Pro Scouting, Sheldon White, who joined the team’s personnel department in May 2022.

Cody White appeared in 15 games for the Steelers in 2021 and caught five passes for 33 yards. In 2022 he played in just one game, catching one pass for two yards against the Indianapolis Colts.

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