Steelers Waive Veteran OLB; T.J. Watt ‘Trending in the Right Direction’

Steelers LB T.J. Watt

Megan Briggs/Getty Images T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 23, 2022.

On Tuesday the Pittsburgh Steelers made three roster moves in advance of this Sunday’s home game against the New Orleans Saints. First and foremost, the team waived linebacker Ryan Anderson from the 53-man roster, presumably to make room for the addition of a veteran defender. That could be reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, who told Rick Dayton of KDKA radio that things are “trending in the right direction” in terms of him returning to action against the Saints. Alternatively, the Steelers could use the roster spot on safety Damontae Kazee, who, like Watt, remains on injured reserve, having suffered a broken forearm and dislocated wrist during the preseason, an injury that required surgery.

“I will be back. I will be ready to go,” said Kazee on Monday, knowing that he needs to be activated by Thursday or he must remain on injured reserve for the remainder of the 2022 season. The Steelers have more leeway with Watt, as his 21-day practice window opened on Oct. 26.

As for Anderson, the Steelers originally onboarded him on Sept. 13, signing him to the practice squad in the wake of Watt suffering a pectoral injury in the season-opener against the Bengals. The Steelers subsequently added the former second-round pick (2017) to the 53-man roster ahead of the team’s Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills. But he played a total of just 28 defensive snaps in the past five games and recorded one tackle for loss along the way, according to Pro Football Reference (PFR).

Steelers Re-Sign Former Bengals Wide Receiver

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Steelers also added former Bengals 4th-round pick Josh Malone to the team’s practice squad. Malone, a 6-foot-3 wide receiver, was originally signed to the practice squad on Oct. 18 after beating out two other wide receivers in a tryout. He was released a few weeks later without getting the chance to build on a career résumé that includes 26 regular-season games, with seven starts, during which time he has recorded 11 receptions for 91 yards and a touchdown.

To make room for Malone, Pittsburgh released placekicker Nick Sciba from its practice squad. That’s an indication that Steelers kicker Chris Boswell is ready to return from the right groin injury that forced him to miss the Eagles game.

Recall that the Steelers signed Sciba to fill in for Boswell against Philadelphia. He made both of his field goals and his only extra point attempt in the Eagles game, though none of his four kickoffs went for touchbacks, as noted by PFR.

Ex-Steelers O-Lineman Fred Johnson Joins Eagles

In one other transaction of note from Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles signed former Steelers offensive lineman Fred Johnson to the practice squad. Johnson — who is 6-foot-7 and 326 pounds — became available last week when he was waived by the Buccaneers.

Johnson, 25, entered the NFL with the Steelers in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of Florida, but Pittsburgh lost him to the Bengals on a waiver claim in Oct. 2019. He has appeared in a total of 28 regular-season games with eight starts, with all of those starts coming with Cincinnati.

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