While it surprised many to not see Demarcus Ayers’ name on the practice squad, a source close to the situation told Steelers Depot the team offered him a spot but Ayers declined.
As PennLive’s Jacob Klinger wrote recently, Ayers said he wasn’t planning on accepting any potential practice squad offer if he did not make the 53 man roster. We can confirm that’s how it played out, Ayers sticking to his word.
Instead, the Steelers signed wide receivers Marcus Tucker and Justin Thomas. Thomas was signed at the end of the preseason while Tucker is in his second year with the team.
Ayers, the team’s 7th round draft pick a year ago, missed most of the preseason with an unknown injury. He suited up for the finale, returning two punts for solid yardage. But it evidently wasn’t enough for him to make the roster in a crowded receiver room, even after the team dealt Sammie Coates to the Cleveland Browns.
As a rookie, Ayers caught six passes for 53 yards and a score after earning a late-season call-up. He caught another three passes in the playoffs.
Mike Tomlin praised him throughout the offseason and early on, it seemed like Ayers had a good chance to supplant Brown on punt returns. But health limited that opportunity and now, he’ll look to catch on somewhere else. Unclaimed on waivers, he’s now a free agent.