The Pittsburgh Steelers officially restored safety Damontae Kazee to their active roster, it was announced Wednesday, who is coming off a three-game suspension for illegal use of helmet. In a corresponding move, the Steelers placed safety Trenton Thompson on injured reserve with a neck injury.
Kazee has started nine games this season, totaling 61 combined tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. His presence has been all the more important this year, stepping up with injuries to teammates Minkah Fitzpatrick and Keanu Neal. Neal remains on injured reserve with a rib injury, meanwhile Fitzpatrick has missed seven of the last 10 games with a hamstring and knee injury. Kazee’s absence will sure be welcomed, given how thin they’ve been at the position.
Thompson, meanwhile, had also taken on a role in the secondary amidst those injuries to Fitzpatrick and Neal. After five games played, including an interception in his lone start, Thompson missed each of the past three weeks with a neck injury, that has now landed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
In the past three weeks, career cornerback Patrick Peterson has started at safety, in addition to Eric Rowe, added to the practice squad in his age-31 season just back in November. He’s played 80%+ of defensive snaps in each of the past three weeks, though it’s unclear what kind of role he’ll play with Fitzpatrick (likely to return) and Kazee both in the lineup.