The Steelers worked out six specialists today, per NFL insider Aaron Wilson. The tryouts included punters Brad Wing, Due Chrisman, Blake Gillikin, and Pat O’Donnell, as well as long snappers Tucker Addington and Carson Tinker.
#Steelers worked out Tucker Addington, Drue Chrisman, Blake Gillikin, Pat O'Donnell, Carson Tinker and Brad Wing (signed)— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) September 27, 2023
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced yesterday that the team’s starting punter, Pressley Harvin, is dealing with a hamstring injury, likely explaining the reason behind today’s tryouts.
Wing, who was the Steelers’ starting punter in 2014, was the only immediate signing following the workouts. Both he and wide receiver Jalen Camp were added to the Steelers’ practice squad today, filling out the 16-man group.
As for the tryouts, Chrisman was an undrafted free agent following the 2021 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. In his pandemic-shortened senior year, Chrisman punted 27 times for the Buckeyes with an average of 45 yards per punt.
Chrisman was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals after the draft and spent most of the season on the team’s practice squad. He was released in October of 2021, but spent a few days on the Steelers’ practice squad in December before re-signing with the Bengals. He played in seven games for Cincinnati the following season, punting 28 times with an average of 47.8 yards per punt. He landed 13 punts inside the 20-yard line and had two touchbacks. Chrisman was released by the Bengals in 2023 during final roster cuts.
Gillikin was signed by the Saints in 2020 as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State. He spent his rookie year on injured reserve but was the Saints’ starting punter for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Last year, Gillikin punted 77 times with a 46.4-yard average, landing 32 punts inside the 20-yard line with seven touchbacks. He was cut by the Saints before the 2023 regular season.
O’Donnell was a sixth-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He played college football at Cincinnati and later Miami (FL). O’Donnell was the Bears’ starting punter for eight years before signing with the Packers for the 2022 season. In Green Bay last year, O’Donnell punted 52 times with a 44.5-yard average. He landed 24 punts inside the 20-yard-line and recorded only one touchback.
As for the long snappers, Tucker Addington went undrafted in 2020 out of Sam Houston and didn’t play football again until the 2022 season with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers. The 6’2, 230-pound specialist has since spent time with the Cowboys, Patriots, and Jaguars.
Carson Tinker won three national championships, starting two of them, as a long snapper for Alabama in college. The 6’0, 237-pound specialist went undrafted in 2013 and has since spent time with the Jaguars, Giants, Buccaneers, Raiders, Rams, and Seahawks.
With Brad Wing’s signing being the only roster move following today’s tryouts, it seems unlikely that the Steelers will sign any of the other names listed above this week as they prepare to play the Texans on Sunday. However, the team often circles back to previous workouts when looking for new practice squad signings, meaning today’s tryouts could still end up in the black and gold one day.