The Pittsburgh Steelers have made their long-rumored addition official, signing LB Myles Jack to the team’s practice squad. The team made the announcement Monday following days of speculation that Jack would unretire and return to the team. In addition to Jack, the team also signed veteran S Eric Rowe to the practice squad.
In other roster moves, the Steelers placed S Elijah Riley on IR due to an ankle injury. His spot on the 53 will be taken by S Trenton Thompson, signed from the team’s practice squad to the 53-man roster today.
Signed to a two-year contract ahead of the 2022 season, Jack played in 15 games for the Steelers last season, starting 13 of them. He led the team with 104 tackles, but his body broke down late in the season and his role was reduced by season’s end. Pittsburgh released him on March 16.
A free agent for months, he considered going to trade school to become an electrician or plumber. Those plans were put on hold in the summer when the Philadelphia Eagles signed him to their training camp roster. But Jack spent just two weeks with the team, announcing his retirement on Aug. 20 and being placed on the team’s Reserve/Retired list.
The first sign of Jack’s return came late last week when the Eagles waived Jack from the Retired list. On Friday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Steelers and Jack had mutual interest. He came in for a visit Monday, took his physical, and signed.
Pittsburgh’s need at inside linebacker became urgent after losing LBs Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander to season-ending injuries in consecutive weeks. Holcomb was lost with a knee injury, Alexander a torn Achilles.
Because Jack’s on the practice squad, the Steelers have greater flexibility with him. He can be elevated to the Active/Inactive roster up to three teams before needing to occupy a roster spot on the team’s 53-man roster. It’s likely the Steelers will give him time to get back into football shape and then yo-yo him through elevations as long as they can. Once deemed ready, he could have an immediate impact. Not someone able to play special teams at this point of his career, he was signed to play inside linebacker. Given the team’s obvious distrust in Mark Robinson, who played zero defensive snaps yesterday, Jack will challenge Mykal Walker for playing time opposite Elandon Roberts.
Rowe is a longtime NFL veteran who has played corner and safety, though he will function as a safety for the Steelers. He’ll provide depth while the team deals with injuries to Minkah Fitzpatrick, Keanu Neal, and now Riley. He’s appeared in 100 career games. Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, he spent last season as a member of the Miami Dolphins and was most recently with the Carolina Panthers this past summer.
Thompson has appeared in two games for the Steelers, playing significant snaps in Sunday’s loss. He logged 58 defensive snaps, picking up six total tackles. Riley suffered his ankle injury making a third-down tackle and was quickly ruled out for the rest of the game. He will now miss at least the next four games. On the season, Riley has nine tackles and one sack.