Steelers Waive Oft-Injured Defender, Claim Former Jets Linebacker

Ulysees GIlbert Steelers

Justin Berl/Getty Images Chester Rogers of the Tennessee Titans is pressured by Ulysees Gilbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers during a punt return on December 19, 2021.

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers waived inside linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III with an injury designation, as per the NFL’s daily transaction wire. It’s another tough break for the fourth-year ’backer, who appeared in 28 games over three seasons after the Steelers made him a sixth-round pick in 2019 out of Akron.

Enter Ex-Jets Linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr.

Replacing Gilbert on the 90-man roster is ex-New York Jets outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr., 24, a former undrafted free agent out of Oregon State who joined the Jets in 2021. Rashed — 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds — failed to make New York’s 53-man roster as a rookie but was signed to the team’s practice squad in September. He was elevated to the active roster for New York’s Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills and was credited with one tackle, having played 16 snaps on defense and two snaps on special teams, as per Pro Football Reference.

Rashed inked a Reserve/Futures contract with the Jets in January 2022, but was waived earlier this week, offering the Steelers the chance to claim him on waivers.

Now he’ll have the opportunity to win a job in Pittsburgh, competing with a group of aspiring backups that is headlined by ex-Browns and Eagles linebacker Genard Avery, who inked a one-year contract in late March. There’s also former Broncos seventh-round pick Derrek Tuszka, who appeared in 15 games with Pittsburgh last season in a backup role.

Also in contention for a spot of the 53-man roster is former “camp phenom” Tuzar Skipper, who was signed in early June; as well as Delontae Scott, who spent much of last season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad, but was elevated for the November 2021 game vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. Last but not least, there’s Ron’Dell Carter, who was inked on Monday August 8, when T.D. Moultry was waived.

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Yet Another Injury for Ulysees Gilbert

As for Ulysees Gilbert, he’s coming off the best and most consistent season of his NFL career. He played in all 17 games in 2021 and was credited with 15 tackles (11 solo) over the course of 36 defensive snaps and 337 special teams snaps, as per Pro Football Reference.

But his first two seasons in the league were ruined by injuries, with a fractured L-5 vertebra in his lower back having sidelined him for the second half of his rookie season. In 2020 he again spent time on injured reserve with a back injury.

This time it’s not a back problem that has cost him his spot on the roster. According to Brooke Pryor of ESPN, he has been seen in recent days with a boot on his right foot.

He “was having a good camp at ILB before his injury, which unfortunately has been a common theme in his career,” notes Pryor, who covers the Steelers for ESPN NFL Nation.

Gilbert, still just 25 years old, has been credited with 25 career tackles (17 solo) over the course of his career. He was selected No. 207 overall in 2019, with a draft pick acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert.

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