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Steelers start the 21-day clock for DeMarvin Leal to return off Injured Reserve

The Steelers rookie returns to practice after missing the mandatory four games.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Wednesday they have opened up the 21-day practice window for rookie defensive end Marvin Leal to return from the Reserve/Injured List (IR).

After appearing in the Steelers first five games of the season and getting his first NFL start against the Buffalo Bills, DeMarvin Leal popped up on the injury report late in Week 6 only to be ruled out for the game and placed on IR the next day. It was later reported Leal had surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee.

On the season, Leal has nine tackles, one of which was for loss, and three passes defensed.

In his absence, defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk has been getting a helmet each week and has been credited with three starts and five tackles. Loudermilk did not see any defensive snaps for the Steelers in Week 10.

Although Leal could return as early as this Sunday, being a rookie and getting back into practice the Steelers will likely look to activate him later in his 21-day window. It is possible Leal could return in any of the games against Cincinnati, Indianapolis, or Atlanta. Leal will have to be activated before the Steelers first matchup against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14.

DeMarvin Leal was the second Steelers draft pick from 2022 to land on IR this season. Wide receiver Calvin Austin III was placed on IR before Week 1 and after being brought back to open his 21-day window to return, it expired and he was placed on the season ending IR list. Austin has since had foot surgery and is expected to return for 2023.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 11 of the regular season.