The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired veteran starting inside linebacker Avery Williamson via trade over two weeks ago. While he has dressed for both of the games that have been played since then, he did not see time in the first one after being unable to practice due to Covid-19 protocol restrictions. On Sunday, he did finally get on the field, playing about a dozen snaps, even if they came at the tail end of a blowout victory.
Williamson, who has always been known to be personable and has already made a number of radio appearances on the local media since he was acquired, was on The Fan Morning Show yesterday. Former Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats was on the air with him, and he asked Williamson what it felt like to get those first snaps under his belt.
“It felt good. It felt really good to finally get out there on that field”, he said. “Waiting all game, you’re just waiting to see what’s gonna happen. But, man, when I got my opportunity, Coach Tomlin told me that he wanted to give me some reps, and I was like, alright, I’m ready for it”.
“I just wanted to make sure that I went out there and would just fly around as fast as I could”, he continued. “Even if I wasn’t doing the correct thing, just make sure that I was going 100 miles per hour. But it honestly felt really good, especially since I haven’t played since I left the Jets. I was really excited to be a part of the organization, the team, and just ready to go lay it all on the line”.
While he has historically been a starter throughout most of his career, the Steelers have made it pretty clear since they first acquired him that this was a move that they made with an eye toward insulating themselves for depth at the position. With Ulysees Gilbert III on injured reserve and Devin Bush having already been there, Williamson is actually the only true depth that they have. The only other player listed at linebacker is Marcus Allen, who is, at best, a dimebacker.
Will his role evolve over the course of the season? Will he begin to be worked into a rotation at inside linebacker alongside Robert Spillane and Vince Williams, the two starters? That remains to be seen, but for the time being, this is a move that was made to secure valuable depth at a critical position, especially not knowing whether or not Gilbert will be available later on in the season.