Steelers roster: Moves expected in wake of injuries

Justin K. Aller

The Steelers potentially have two more IR candidates after their Week 6 win over the Jets. Matt Spaeth and Sean Spence are both eligible to return to the roster, which isn't a guarantee they will. A few decisions need to be made.

The team that just notched its first win of the season is about to change.

Again.

The Steelers already have six players on injured reserve - Larry Foote, Maurkice Pouncey, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Plaxico Burress, Nik Embernate and Nick Williams.

Add short-term IR resident Matt Spaeth to that list, along with PUP-ed Sean Spence.

Tight end David Johnson is expected to be placed on IR for the second year in a row, this time, with a dislocated wrist that will require surgery. Levi Brown injured his right triceps - the same one he tore in 2012, costing him the season - in pre-game warm-ups Sunday. That's not commonly an injury that needs a week of rest.

Speculatively put, the Steelers could add two more to injured reserve, as they prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7.

Spence is expected to practice this week, and could potentially return for the Steelers' game against Baltimore. That's one option to up Johnson's roster spot, giving the Steelers four inside linebackers - Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Stevenson Sylvester and Spence.

Spaeth is also eligible to return, and could suit up in Week 7. That isn't a guarantee the team will deem him eligible, and with the roster at 53 now, and three tight ends already on the roster - Miller, David Paulson and Michael Palmer - they may choose to have him practice, but not activate him to return yet.

He can remain off the team's roster for three weeks from his first practice date. After that point, he needs to be added, placed on IR or released.

If Brown's injury is as severe as it was last year, he'd be shut down for the year. The real question, though, is how the Steelers will handle this in Week 7. The two spots likely to be vacated by Johnson and Brown could be simply filled by Spaeth and Spence, but that would only be if two players who haven't practiced with the team this regular season (or all of last season, for that matter) are able to contribute.

Michael Palmer is still on the Steelers' roster, although it wouldn't be ideal to have him playing significant snaps. The Steelers' practice squad does not have a tight end, but Joe Long could be called up to help bolster depth. Benched and deactivated OT Mike Adams will likely get a helmet against Baltimore. If Long is called up, he has to stay on the roster for three weeks.

Some moving and shaking is coming this week, and moves could be announced today.

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