The Pittsburgh Steelers did not have an opportunity to get Avery Williamson on the practice field last week because of the Covid-19 protocols that are in place for the 2020 season, which requires that traded players (or any players who come newly into a locker room) undergo a testing process first.
In part because of this, the veteran starter did not even see a snap in the game, in spite of the fact that the team did choose to dress him, without having ever even practiced with anybody he would be playing with. They had no intention of playing him, but as Mike Tomlin said yesterday, they wanted to help him get familiar with the process. Now over a week since the trade, and hoping to get into the building soon, he spoke with The Fan about where he is right now.
“I’m definitely feeling a lot more comfortable mentally with everything”, he told his hosts. “You know how it is though. You gotta get out there and get through practice and stuff first and experience it. But I feel like I’m definitely better than I was last week”.
“I’m just going to make sure I’m just continuing to go over plays and make sure I’m locked in for practice this week, and just try to take in as much info as possible and ask as many questions as possible and just try to keep familiarizing myself with the system”, he continued. “I feel like I’m doing a good job so far and I’m definitely I’m catching on pretty quick, so I’m excited and ready to get out there and practice and communicate and fly around with the guys”.
A former fifth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans back in 2014, the 28-year-old linebacker has logged 86 games in his career, with 81 starts. He missed all of the 2019 season due to an ACL injury, but played in seven games so far this year with the New York Jets, starting six, logging 59 tackles with an interception and three passes defensed.
The Steelers currently have two inside linebackers on the injured reserve list. Their every-down backer, Devin Bush, was lost for the season a few weeks ago with a torn ACL. Second-year Ulysees Gilbert III is also on reserve with a back injury, and it’s unclear if he will be available later in the season.
Behind Robert Spillane and Vince Williams, who is currently on the Covid-19 list but is expected to be cleared in time or Sunday’s game, the only ‘linebacker’ that they had left before the Williamson trade was converted safety Marcus Allen, who has logged some snaps in recent weeks as a dimebacker.