We are now at a point during the offseason in which we find ourselves looking at training camp just around the corner for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the league, and a lot has changed for them over the course of the past several months. They have lost a number of players in free agency, through releases, and retirements. But they have also brought in a number of new faces to replace them.
We all know that roster turnover is an ever-present reality for today’s rosters, and it seems that over the course of the past half-decade or so even the Steelers have proven to be as susceptible to the annual shakeup as anybody. With that in mind, we should take the time to get to know some of the new faces with training camp soon to be here.
Now that we have finished covering the new players that the Steelers have brought in since training camp opened, we can circle back and wrap up those we have missed that have been here since the spring, some of whom may even have an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster, and definitely the practice squad.
One of those players is Keith Kelsey, one of a pair of undrafted rookie inside linebackers that the Steelers have on their 53-man roster, and both of them are coming off of encouraging debut preseason performances.
The problem for the two of them is that the other inside linebackers with whom they could potentially be vying for a roster spot also played well in the preseason game, and have done well in training camp as well, those being veterans Steven Johnson and L.J. Fort.
The presumption has been all along that one of Johnson or Fort will make the 53-man roster, because there probably will not be room for a fifth inside linebacker, but both of them are strong contributors on special teams, which makes it all the more difficult for somebody like Kelsey to steal a spot away.
But the rookie did throw his hat into the ring, recording a pair of tackles on special teams in the preseason opener. He also had a solid performance when he got the opportunity to get into the game on the defensive side of the ball.
I suspect that this is a roster battle, at least for the practice squad, that is going to last for the duration of the preseason. Kelsey is not an explosive athlete, but he seems to be a football player. That is usually good enough to help a guy stick around in some form or fashion.