Steelers Work Out 2 Placekickers, LB/LS Too

Brandon Wright Jaguars

James Gilbert/Getty Images Brandon Wright (#1) of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up with teammate Logan Cooke before the start of a game against the Miami Dolphins on September 24, 2020.

On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers held tryouts for three players—two placekickers and a linebacker. One might wonder why the Steelers are working out kickers when Chris Boswell is 14-of-14 on field goals this season.

At the moment, Pittsburgh has only 15 players on its practice squad (instead of the allowed 16), so it’s possible the Steelers are looking to add a kicker to the practice squad as an insurance policy.

2 Wrights, Matthew and Brandon

One of the kickers the Steelers had in for a tryout is Matthew Wright, who was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent out of Central Florida after the 2019 NFL Draft. He went on to kick during the 2019 preseason (when Chris Boswell’s job security was very much in doubt following a subpar 2018), but despite converting five of his six field goal attempts, the Steelers decided to stick with Boswell.

In college, Wright converted 55 of 71 field goals (.774) and at one point he made 153 extra points in a row. He was part of the 2017 Knights team that went 13-0 and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Central Florida also went undefeated throughout its regular season in 2018, until it lost to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, 40-32.

He grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. His very first collegiate field goal attempt—a last-second try in a 15-14 loss to Florida International—was blocked.

Wright has a degree in aerospace engineering, and since getting released by the Steelers in September 2019 he has played in the XFL and also worked as a Systems Engineer Associate for Lockheed Martin in Florida. He had a tryout with the New England Patriots in early October.

As for Brandon Wright, he’s a 23-year-old rookie who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia State, where he did the punting and placekicking during his last two collegiate seasons. In 2019 he converted 12 of 18 field goal attempts and 48 of 49 PATs while averaging 41.8 yards per punt.

He was elevated from Jacksonville’s practice squad for the Jaguars’ Week 3 game against the Miami Dolphins after starting kicker Josh Lambo suffered a hip injury. He converted one of two extra point attempts against the Dolphins before suffering a groin injury and being placed on injured reserve. A few days later he was waived off of IR with an injury settlement.

Linebacker/Long Snapper Christian Kuntz

The third player the Steelers had in for a tryout on Wednesday was linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz (Duquesne), who was with the Steelers in training camp in 2019 and also with the team between March and August of this year.

Prior to (re)joining the Steelers this spring, he played for the Dallas Renegades of the XFL (alongside former Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones).

Since 2017 Kuntz has spent time with the New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars but has never earned a roster spot.

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