Eli Rogers was not the only player on the roster eligible to return to practice last week after an extended absence due to injury. Placed on injured reserve at the start of the season, Olasunkanmi Adeniyi could also have resumed training with his teammates after Week 6, but much like Rogers, it seems the coaching staff still has yet to decide what they intend doing with him this season.
Speaking to Chris Adamski of TribLive earlier in the week, the rookie linebacker confirmed he was completely healthy and eager to resume training.
“Physically I am ready to go today, hands down. That’s not even a question. I’m ready to go physically.”
Even if he had no idea when that might happen.
“I haven’t really heard anything. Nobody has told me anything yet. ... I don’t know how it works. I don’t really know the politics of it all. So, I’m just kind of waiting for somebody to come and tell me.”
Although the Steelers have surprisingly only been carrying three outside linebackers on the active roster this season, the unit has stayed relatively healthy so far. The defense was second in the league in sacks prior to Week 7, with 10 having come from their current trio of edge defenders. However, those who saw Adeniyi play in preseason will have been intrigued by his potential as a pass rusher and his contribution during the second half of the season could yet prove to be invaluable.
As per league rules that govern players who return from injured reserve, even though the young rookie is eligible to resume practice, he cannot play in a game until after Week 9. Adding him to the roster would also require the release of another name on the 53-man roster.
While he has no idea when or even if he will be given a chance to play in 2018, he feels he is ready to go whenever it happens.
“Whenever they say ‘We’re pulling you up,’ then I’m ready. If they say they’re keeping me on (IR), then I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing now, just working on myself and on my body and just getting ready. Mentally, I feel like I am still working. I go to meetings and still sit down and am still listening and write down all my notes and all the things I would be doing as a player. So mentally I am grinding, I am still there. Playbook-wise I am still there, too.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, just keep working out and just keep getting better and keep getting my body right. Whenever I get called up, I’ll be ready to go.”
Much like with Rogers, it is possible the coaching staff is holding Adeniyi in reserve until another player on the roster is injured sufficiently enough to warrant adding them to IR, but his status will be worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.