Steelers Finalize 53-Man Roster for the 2021 Season

(Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media, FILE)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — The difficult decision to shave the remaining players from an NFL team has come to reality. For the Steelers, the final cuts were made Tuesday at 4pm and the team has been assembled for the battles leading up to Super Bowl LVI.

Among notable cuts, running back Jaylen Samuels who has been with the team since 2018 and punter Jordan Berry, added to Steelers in 2015. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was placed on the injured reserve list to make way for offseason pickup Dwayne Haskins who was picked up off of waivers in January of this year.

The following list of the final roster is credited to to the Pittsburgh Steelers in alphabetical order:

Offense (24)

Quarterbacks (3): Dwayne Haskins, Mason Rudolph, Ben Roethlisberger

Running Backs/Fullbacks (5): Kalen Ballage, Najee Harris, Anthony McFarland Jr., Benny Snell Jr., Derek Watt

Offensive Line (8): Zach Banner, Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Joe Haeg, J.C. Hassenauer, Dan Moore Jr., Chukwuma Okorafor, Trai Turner

Tight Ends (3): Eric Ebron, Pat Freiermuth, Zach Gentry

Wide Receivers (5): Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, Ray-Ray McCloud, JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington

Defense (26)

Defensive Line (8): Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, Carlos Davis, Cameron Heyward, Isaiahh Loudermilk, Henry Mondeaux, Stephon Tuitt, Chris Wormley

Linebackers (10): Marcus Allen, Devin Bush, Ulysees Gilbert III, Alex Highsmith, Melvin Ingram III, Buddy Johnson, Jamir Jones, Joe Schobert, Robert Spillane, T.J. Watt

Defensive Backs (8): Terrell Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Joe Haden, Miles Killebrew, Justin Layne, Tre Norwood, James Pierre, Cam Sutton

Haskins Impresses in First Game as a Steeler

Steelers’ Quarterback Dwayne Haskins throws during the Hall of Fame Game in Canton Ohio. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

CANTON, OH (GSM) — Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is a 2021 off season pick-up by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the Washington Football Team released him in January. Steelers brass seem to be happy to have him on their team.

In his debut as a member of the Black-n-Gold, Haskins completed 8 of his 13 passes for 54 yards in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys. He also ran for four yards to the delight of his coaches.

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin addresses the media following the Hall of Fame Game on August 5, 2021 in Canton, OH. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

Head Coach Mike Tomlin said of Haskins, “I liked his demeanor! I thought he was a really good communicator. I thought he was present and kind of cerebral, the way that you like the quarterback position to be.”

On paper, Mason Rudolph is listed as the backup to starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. However, Dwayne Haskins continues to show that he is highly capable of becoming the #2 as he shows significant leadership skills.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.

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Zach Banner Out for the Season

Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner leaves the game against the New York Giants with a leg injury at MetLife Stadium on September 14, 2020 in East Rutherford, NJ. (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Since joining the Steelers in 2017, Zach Banner got his first chance to start on the offensive line and his season was cut short.

In the 2020 season opener against the New York Giants, Banner left the game with assistance after team trainers feared the worst after suffering a leg injury. It was confirmed that Banner will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL and was placed on injured reserve.

Banner posted an optimistic video to twitter, ensuring fans that he will return to the field when he is healthy.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Defends Quarterback Mason Rudolph

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

PITTSBURGH (GSM) — Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin took issue with  his backup quarterback Mason Rudolph being “accused” of using racial slurs during a game in Cleveland last season.

A physical altercation resulted in a melee between the Steelers and Browns during the 2019 season where Browns defensive end Myles Garrett forcibly removed Rudolph’s helmet and proceeded to hit him over the head with it. With 8-seconds left to play in the game, Garrett was ejected and suspended for the remaining 6 games of the season.

Coach Tomlin appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” to voice his opinion on the matter and to discuss the allegations against Mason Rudolph:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Steelers’ Head Coach Tomlin released the following statement:

I support Mason Rudolph not only because I know him, but also because I was on that field immediately following the altercation with Myles Garrett, and subsequently after the game. I interacted with a lot of people in the Cleveland Browns organization – players and coaches. If Mason said what Myles claimed, it would have come out during the many interactions I had with those in the Browns’ organization. In my conversations, I had a lot of expressions of sorrow for what transpired. I received no indication of anything racial or anything of that nature in those interactions.


BRIAN COOK IS AN EMMY-NOMINATED INTERNATIONAL JOURNALIST WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE SINCE 2005. HE CAN BE REACHED AT BCOOK@GOLDENSKYMEDIA.COM.
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | TWITTER  

EDITORIAL: Mike Tomlin is a Quality Coach that Deserves Respect

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during his weekly press conference. December 18, 2018 (Clyde Harris / Golden Sky Media)

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PITTSBURGH (GSM) — I’m sick of all of the “Tomlin didn’t maximize his talent” arguments in Pittsburgh.

Let’s look at the record:

2007: 1st year as head coach, he wins the AFC North but loses momentum and playoff game at home with last-second FG. This was AFTER the NFL’s leading rusher broke his leg in week 15 or 16 (i.e., “Fast” Willie Parker, he of the SB rushing record for longest TD run back in SB XL). Also- his franchise QB throws a pick-6 #ugh.

2008: Won SB as 2nd year coach.

2009: Team collapsed at the end of the year to miss the playoffs. SB hangover. I’ll concede that point. BAD loss to the Raiders at home.

2010: Made it to the SB. Lost to Aaron Rodgers after a(nother) Big Ben pick-6 (no one brings that up) and a bad fumble by Mendenhall (sp). Still lost by 6. Also got to the SB with a banged-up Troy Polamalu, who was the NFL Defensive MVP that was hurt late in the season versus the Bengals (apparently on a pick-6 return).

2011: Lost the Tebow game when his team was VERY banged up. Ryan Clark (starting safety) couldn’t play in Denver after almost dying the last time up there (sickle cell trait). Mendenhall tore his ACL in the past game of the regular season. Multiple injuries everywhere during that game. That was still a 12-4 team.

2012: Big Ben was injured for 3-4 games that year. Missed the playoffs.

2013: Started the season 0-4, including a bad loss in London to MIN. Went 8-4 (67%) the rest of the way, was one missed FG away from making the playoffs by the Chiefs in week 17.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Brian Cook / Golden Sky Media)

2014: Lost home playoff game after Le’Veon Bell was hurt in the last game of the regular season on a Sunday night (Cincy). This was the LeGarrette Blount season.

2015: Lost to the eventual SB champs (a team with a historic defensive) in the divisional round after Le’Veon Bell was lost for the year (knee vs Cincy again), AB was lost (Cincy concussion game), and Ben was playing with a bad shoulder (also hurt in the Cincy game). Oh, yeah: the backup RB (De’Angelo Williams) was out for the year as well, hurt in the last regular season game vs. Cleveland. Still was one bad fumble away from likely winning that game. Also: their all-Pro center was out for the year.

2016: Went to the AFC Champ game with a hurt Le’Veon Bell. Lost to eventual SB champs. Played the tail end of this season without one of his best defensive players – Cam Heyward (hurt late season).

(***By the way: anyone seeing a theme with some of these late-season IR-leading injuries to top-flight players?!?!

2007?
2011?
2014?
2015?
2016?
2017?

How does Tomlin get blame for that? His fault for foot fractures, tore ACLs, or broken legs?)

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin (Marlon Martin / Golden Sky Media)

2017: With a 13-3 team, lost in divisional round after losing the heart of their defense one month prior (i.e., remember that the Shazier injury was 13 days BEFORE the NE game), causing their defensive to go from top 8 defense in the league to mediocre AT BEST. Gave up 45 points at home with a dude at MLB (Sean Spence) that sat roughly 12 games of the season on the couch. Still should NOT have been in that JAX game (i.e., should have been the #1 seed playing a BAD TEN team) if not for the “Jesse James” game and HORRIBLE Big Ben INT after the James reversal (again, no one talks about that HORRIBLE decision by a $100m QB…some of these “Tomlin losses” have been due to the QB being “a gunslinger” and losing winnable games much like Brett Favre…another QB who could easily have more rings if his style of play afforded better decisions)

BTW: lost that NE game at home without their best CB (Haden was hurt), best LB (Shazier) and the league’s best WR (Brown was hurt early in that game)…still lost because of James reversal and the bad QB decision afterwards.

2018: 9-6-1 after bad losses mid-season. I’ll give you that. Also will note that Conner was hurt and out for 3 games – when he was playing at a Pro Bowl-level. Bell was out (i.e., his own decision), and Brown was a huge headache all year long. That said: they went from possible #1 seed to missing the playoffs pretty fast.

2019: 8-8 with Duck Hodges (i.e., a 4th string QB to start training camp) and Mason Rudolph (i.e., 3rd string QB in 2018) at QB. JuJu missed 4 games. Conner missed 6 games and left during a 7th. Pouncey missed a game.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the preseason matchup vs the Carolina Panthers on August 29, 2019 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. (Montez Aiken / Golden Sky Media)

My point? I know…injuries happen to everyone. However, how many teams lose Pro Bowl-caliber talent late in the season and then do well (i.e., win multiple games) in the playoffs?

I have been a Steelers supporter as a native Pittsburgher. I wish that they won a few more SBs with this QB there. However, let’s be honest: things haven’t completely fallen into place with this team. This year showed us that there’s a drop-off from best WR or top-5 QB in the league to “next man up”, despite “…the standard is the standard…” Same is true for top-5 LB (Shazier in 2017), top-10 DL (Heyward), top-5 C (Pouncey), top-3 RB (Bell/Conner/Parker), and top-tier CB (Haden).

NE has never made it to the SB without a) playing in a division that was quite the opposite as the competitive AFC North (which often sent THREE teams to the playoffs between 2008-2015), having the 1st round bye, and not losing key components (minus not having Gronk in 2016) late in the season. Their “reign of terror” has so much to do with playing in that LOUSY division for 20 years (i.e., never more than 2 teams in the playoffs at one time – and usually only NE went) than anything else.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin during the team’s 2019 training camp in Latrobe, PA. (Sheila Thompson / Golden Sky Media)

Since 2007, the AFC North Champs:

PGH: 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2017
BALT: 2011, 2012, 2018, 2019
CIN: 2009, 2013, 2015

The AFC North has had (minus Cleveland) some of the most talented and competitive football (and vicious hitting as well) over the past 20 years. Tomlin has been here for the majority of it and has multiple championships (division, conference, and SB) despite it…and the ill-fated injuries that come with all of that to boot.

Can some of us please just stop it with the “Tomlin hasn’t done enough” rhetoric? If 2019 won’t shut you up, please take a look at this year – and the whole record – to get more of why you might not completely get it (i.e., know what you’re talking about/have a waning memory based on your Yinzerism)

…just seems like something some Pittsburghers and some of #SteelerNation should give up on as a New Year’s Resolution for 2020.


LENNY MCALLISTER IS AN AWARD WINNING commentator who is a contributor to golden sky media.