Tuesday morning, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a short statement concerning the recent incident that outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo had over the weekend that resulted in him being arrested and charged with simple assault. In short, Colbert indicated that the team would do their due diligence in regard Chickillo and thus probable prior to deciding what his immediate fate would be.
Not long after Colbert released that statement, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin held his weekly press conference and predictably he was asked if he had spoken to Chickillo yet and if so, how that conversation went.
“I’ll leave it between he and I and really, just largely, I don’t have anything to say,” Tomlin said. “We’ve released a few statements, and appropriately so. We want to do a good job of communicating with you guys, but there’s not a lot for us to say, or a lot that we can say, pending investigations and the sensitivity of the circumstances. It’s obviously something that we take very seriously, but I’ll just leave it at that and ride with the statements that we’ve provided you guys.”
Tomlin was then quickly asked if Chickillo would practice on Wednesday.
“Again, like I said, I’ll leave it with the statement that we’ve provided you guys,” Tomlin said.
On the surface, it would seem as though Chickillo might be held out of practice until the team finds out more about his weekend incident. We might also could see Chickillo placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which is, in effect, paid leave, until his weekend incident is thoroughly investigated not only by the Steelers, but the NFL as well. Should that wind up being what happens with Chickillo, he would be paid as if he were on the Steelers active roster, even though he would not count against his team’s 53-man active roster limit.
While on the commissioner’s exempt list, Chickillo would not be allowed to practice or attend games. He would, however, be allowed to be present at the Steelers facility for meetings, to work out, and to receive treatment should he require it.
Chickillo being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list would obviously open a spot on the Steelers 53-man roster and the team would likely fill it with another outside linebacker. That outside linebacker could wind up being either Jayrone Elliott, who was waived by the team the Friday prior to their Week 6 road game against the Los Angeles Chargers, or rookie Tuzar Skipper, who was waived by the New York Giants on Tuesday. While Elliott can be signed at any time now due to him being a free agent, adding Skipper back would require the Steelers winning a waiver claim, the results of which won’t be known until Wednesday evening.
The Steelers might decide to try to add both Elliott and Skipper back to their 53-man roster should Chickillo be deemed worthy of being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. However, they would need to open one additional roster spot to do so. Quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was signed to the Steelers 53-man roster from the team’s practice squad a week ago Friday, might could be waived should the team need an additional roster spot. Should that wind up happening, Lynch might could circle back to the practice squad following him being cut.
Regardless of what all was just outlined above, we should have a lot more clarity regarding Chickillo’s status and the bottom of the Steelers outside linebacker depth chart roughly 24 hours from now. It would make sense for the Steelers to add both Elliott and Skipper to their 53-man roster by Wednesday at 4 p.m. EST if possible and especially if Chickillo will be in limbo a bit longer.
Chickillo was arrested Sunday and charged with assault, criminal mischief and harassment in Fayette County (Penn.) following a domestic dispute involving his girlfriend, Pennsylvania State Police confirmed to NFL.com. He was arraigned when taken into custody, court records show, and was later was released on a $10,000 bond. Chickillo’s preliminary hearing has reportedly been scheduled for Oct. 30.