Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have lost defensive end Cameron Heyward for the remainder of the season due to a torn pectoral muscle, the team is down to five healthy defensive linemen on their 53-man roster. While defensive end L.T. Walton will likely start dressing for games moving forward, one has to think that another defensive end will be promoted from the team’s practice squad on Saturday.
Even though the Steelers normally only dress five defensive linemen for games, very rarely have they entered a contest with only five in total on their 53-man roster in previous years. Assuming one is signed from the practice squad on Saturday, it will have to be either Caushaud Lyons or Johnny Maxey.
Lyons, who was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by the Steelers prior to the start of the 2015 regular season, spent the first three weeks of that season on the team’s 53-man roster. After being waived, he landed on the Steelers practice squad where he remained the rest of the season.
Lyons failed to make the 53-man roster this year out of training camp but did play in all four preseason games. He played a total of 92 defensive snaps and registered 7 total tackles of which two were for losses. Additionally, he had one forced fumble.
As for Maxey, who signed with the Steelers this past May as an undrafted free agent out of Mars Hill, he also saw action in all four preseason games. He played 62 total defensive snaps and registered 6 total tackles of which one was for a loss. Like Lyons, he has been on the practice squad all season.
While the Steelers did bring free agent defensive end Bobby Richardson in for a visit on Tuesday, he might be a candidate to replace either Lyons or Maxey on the practice squad next week.
Regardless, look for the Steelers to place Heyward on their Reserve/Injured list on Saturday and promote either Lyons or Maxey to the 53-man roster as a corresponding move.