The Pittsburgh Steelers, like almost all 32 NFL organizations, are thin at multiple positions on their team. Everyone knows about the Steelers’ issues at inside linebacker, as well as left guard, but a position which doesn’t get as much talk is at tight end.
Throughout the 2020 season, the Steelers’ have seen a revolving door at the tight end position. Vance McDonald spent time on the COVID-19/Reserve List, and as Zach Gentry filled in for McDonald, he injured his knee, landing him on Injured Reserve (IR).
Fast forward to the team’s preparation for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 16, and the Steelers are unsure about who will be available to them at tight end. McDonald remains the lone healthy tight end, this after Eric Ebron left the Week 15 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football with a lower back injury.
What will the Steelers do if Ebron can’t go vs. his former team at Heinz Field? To make sure they have an insurance policy, the Steelers have brought back Kevin Rader to their practice squad. In doing so, they released LB/LS Christian Kuntz.
Rader was released from the Steelers’ practice squad just last week, and the injury to Ebron has brought him back before he likely was able to pack his bags. The same could be said for Kuntz, as the Steelers like to keep extra specialists on their practice squad in case someone lands on the COVID-19/Reserve List.
The promotion of Rader doesn’t mean the Steelers won’t have Ebron available to them this Sunday, but merely gives them an option if he can’t play. In other words, it prevents the team from going into a crucial AFC game, one where the Steelers could clinch an AFC North victory with a win, with just one healthy tight end.
Ebron’s availability this week in practice will likely dictate Rader’s activation off the practice squad, or if he will remain there for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news on injuries, and more, as the Steelers prepare for the Colts this Sunday at Heinz Field.