The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Thursday morning they have activated running back Jaylen Samuels from the Reserve/COVID-19 List. In a corresponding move, the Steelers have released UDFA fullback Spencer Nigh.
Samuels was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List on Sunday, August 2. While unclear at this time whether or not Samuels had a positive test or was merely exposed to someone who was positive, he did spend 11 days moving through the NFL’s protocol to return from Covid.
Samuels returns to a crowded running back room with the likes of James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Anthony McFarland Jr., Wendell Smallwood, Kerrith Whyte Jr., and Trey Edmunds. Although Samuels did start four games for the Steelers in 2019, with so many players vying for a spot in 2020 it is anyone’s guess as to who will complete the Steelers running back depth chart and ultimately make the Steelers 53-man roster come September.
Used more as a receiving threat in 2019, Samuels had 305 receiving yards on 47 receptions and a touchdown compared to his 175 yards rushing on 66 attempts with one rushing touchdown. Samuels added three receiving touchdowns in his rookie season in 2018.
As for full back Spencer Nigh, his chances of making the Steelers roster we’re very low in 2020 barring an injury. With the Steelers signing fullback Derek Watt to a free agent deal in the offseason, there just didn’t seem to be enough room on the roster to carry two players at the position. Although some believed Nigh had a chance to make the expanded practice squad, the former Auburn Tiger’s release on Thursday eliminated the likelihood.
In a press conference just moments before the announcement was made, head coach Mike Tomlin said he would not be answering any questions in regards to players situations with COVID-19.
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