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Steelers place DeMarvin Leal on Injured Reserve, promote a trio of defensive backs

The Pittsburgh Steelers made several roster moves preparing for the Week 6 game vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in quite a pickle with their current injury situation. With the following players out of the lineup due to injury, roster moves would have to be made. Of all the injured players no position has been hit harder than the secondary.

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Cam Sutton
  • Ahkello Witherspoon
  • Levi Wallace

Yes, that would be three starting cornerbacks and the Steelers’ All-Pro safety. Needing to make some promotions, the team was able to create a roster spot by placing DeMarvin Leal on Injured Reserve (IR) and promoted Joshua Jackson to the 53-man roster in his stead.

Leal was injured Friday in practice, and was ruled out of the game this Sunday vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The injury means Leal will be out of the lineup for a minimum of four weeks before the team can start his 21-day window to return to the team.

The other promotions were safety Elijah Riley and cornerback Quincy Wilson. This from the Steelers official Twitter account:

Josh Jackson was a second-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers out of Iowa in the 2018 NFL draft. After three years in Green Bay where Jackson played in 42 games with 15 starts with 86 tackles and 12 passes defense, he was traded to the New York Giants in exchange for cornerback Isaac Yiadom. Released by the Giants in October after not appearing in a game, Jackson landed on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad where he was elevated for two games and had four tackles. Jackson spent the 2022 preseason with the Arizona Cardinals but did not make the team. Jackson was one of the final players signed by the Steelers to their 16-man practice squad ahead of Week 1.

In Week 4, Jackson played five snaps on special teams against the Jets but did not see the field on defense. Against the Bills, Jackson played 24 defensive snaps where he had two tackles and a fumble recovery

As for Riley, he was undrafted out of Army in 2020, Riley signed with the Philadelphia Eagles following the NFL Draft. Failing to make the 53-man roster, Riley landed on the practice squad and was elevated for the Eagles matchup against the Steelers. In mid December, Riley was signed to the active roster and finished the season with five games played but with only four snaps on defense and 65 on special teams. Failing to make the Eagles roster again in 2021, Riley landed back on the practice squad and was activated for one game with the Eagles where he played eight special team snaps. In November, the Jets signed Riley off the Eagles practice squad, where he played in seven games with 386 defensive snaps where Riley had 1.0 sacks, one pass defense, 45 tackles, and three tackles for loss. Landing back with the Jets for 2022, Riley was released when rosters were trimmed down to 80 players and was claimed by the Steelers off waivers.

In his one preseason game with the Steelers in August, Riley played 46 defensive snaps where he had four tackles and a pass defensed. Riley was elevated from the Steelers practice squad last week but did not play any snaps.

Wilson was drafted in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts in 2017 out of the University of Florida, Quincy Wilson played three seasons with the Colts where he appeared in 29 games with 10 starts. In his three seasons, Wilson had two interceptions and eight passes defensed along with a fumble recovery. During the offseason of 2020, Wilson was traded from the Colts to the New York Jets for a sixth-round draft pick. Wilson only appeared in three games with one start for the Jets where he had one tackle. Waived in November, Wilson landed on the New York Giants practice squad where he was elevated for two games but didn’t see any action. In 2021, Wilson was placed on the Reserve/Injured List in August before being waived later in the season. For 2022, Wilson was on the Miami Dolphins offseason roster but failed to make the team come September. Wilson joined the Steelers practice squad ahead of Week 3.

With the rash of injuries to the secondary, the Steelers are continuing to wait before promoting Calvin Austin III to the active roster. The rookie wide receiver had his clock started just over a week ago and has been back at practice. If the team fails to promote him and his 21-day window expires, he’ll be placed on season-ending IR.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes as the team presses on throughout the 2022 regular season.