On a much more unfortunate note, two Steelers have already had their seasons cut short. Fullback/tight end David Johnson suffered a torn ACL and MCL in last week’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles, while running back John Clay suffered significant injuries to his groin and hip in practice. Both players have been placed on the waived/injured list and are expected to clear waivers, whereupon the Steelers can put the players on injured reserve.
The injury to Clay is particularly challenging as the team battles injuries at the tailback spot. Starting running back Rashard Mendenhall is of course still on the PUP list and is expected to miss at least the first 6 games of the regular season. Isaac Redman, who is expected to carry the load this year, is currently dealing with a groin injury of his own and is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow.
Although he practiced yesterday, he attempted to do so again today, but fell painfully to the ground. Behind him, Jonathan Dwyer is also tending to a mild AC sprain in his shoulder, although he is expected to be fine in a week or so. He is practicing in a limited capacity.
To fill the roster spots of Johnson and Clay, the Steelers brought in veteran tight end Justin Peele and undrafted rookie running back Jason Ford.
Punter Jeremy Kapinos remains week to week with a strained back injury that opens wide his own roster spot. The only other punter currently on the roster is rookie undrafted free agent Drew Butler, son of former Chicago Bears kicker Kevin Butler. He will handle all punting duties until Kapinos can return, but when he does, it may already be too late.
The rest of the men on the PUP list remain status quo. Jason Worilds, the primary backup at outside linebacker, is still recovering from offseason wrist surgery. Although Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writer Mark Kaboly noted on The Terrible Podcast that Worilds claims to feel fine, it seems that the team is less confident. While both Harrison and Worilds remain out, fourth string outside linebacker, 2nd year man Chris Carter, has been making the most of the first team reps he has been receiving all summer.
In addition to Harrison, Mendenhall, and Worilds, starting nose tackle Casey Hampton also remains on the PUP list, although he appears to be making steady progress. There is a chance that he is ready to suit up for the start of the regular season, but he may not be in a starting position.
3rd year pro Steve McLendon has been dominant thus far with the first team defense at nose tackle, combining his speed and agility to make plays from a traditionally inglorious position, such as his sack of Michael Vick last week. In addition to McLendon, the Steelers traded up in the 4th round of this past draft to select nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, who has a more traditional build for the position.