Although he dressed for this past week’s game, Sunday could mark the actual on-field Pittsburgh Steelers debut for linebacker Avery Williamson, whom the team acquired via trade about a week and a half ago. Because of the landing process for the Covid-19 protocols, he was not able to practice last week, and only dressed in the event of an emergency, but he has gotten in a lot of work this week.
That is especially the case because starting linebacker Vince Williams has not been available due to the fact that he is on the Reserve/Covid-19 List. While the team anticipates that he will be available for Sunday’s game, provided that he has no positive tests, he is required to quarantine, and so of course is not physically present in the building or the practice field.
As for Williamson, he has now had the opportunity to be in the building and meet with people face to face (although because of the intensive protocols that come with a positive case, they are still meeting virtually this week), and it has just provided him with an opportunity to see how different the culture is here compared to the New York Jets.
“It’s all about winning. It’s all about winning, from the top down. It’s definitely cool”, he told reporters yesterday. “The level of talent in the building—we’ve got some monsters upfront. The d-line, it’s definitely great when you’ve got guys like that in front of you to shoo those offensive linemen off of you”.
“It’s just a winning mentality, and every day is focused on winning, and we’re getting results”, he added, as a player coming from a winless team to an undefeated one—as someone who had experienced just two non-losing seasons in seven years. “It’s definitely cool and fun. It’s a rich tradition. They’ve got a lot of pride in this building. I’m excited to just be a part of it”.
To what extent on the field will he be a part of it? That remains to be seen. Even though Williamson has been an every-down player, the Steelers when discussing him have made it pretty clear that the move was made with the notion that he would serve primarily as depth behind Williams and Robert Spillane.
While appearing on The Fan earlier this week, he relayed an anecdote from his time on the sideline during Sunday’s game as an observer—a game in which the Steelers at one point trailed 13-0, their largest deficit of the season to date.
“It was crazy, because I was on the sideline just sweating, and guys are like, ‘look, we’re about to get this thing going’”, he told his hosts. “They just had that confidence. They had that confidence, and I really liked that”. It is clear that he is still in the process of unlearning that loser’s mentality that he has inherited from his prior stops in the National Football League, as Joe Haden and Tyson Alualu have done before him.