The Pittsburgh Steelers have now named their four protected practice squad players for Week 11 and the list once again includes players very familiar to it.
The Tuesday list of Steelers protected practice players for Week 11 includes wide receiver Deon Cain, running back Wendell Smallwood, rookie safety Antoine Brooks Jr., the team’s sixth-round draft pick this year out of Maryland, and tight end Kevin Rader. All four players have been on this list multiple times now as Week 10 was Rader’s first time on it.
Brooks, who was signed to the Steelers Active/Inactive roster on Saturday under the COVID-19 Replacement designation, reverted to the team’s practice squad on Monday. Brooks played over 20 defensive snap in the Steelers Sunday home win against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Brooks’ Monday reversion to the practice squad means the Steelers now have one open spot on their 53-man roster. That spot might be needed for one of three players, tight end Vance McDonald (COVID-19 list), guard Kevin Dotson (COVID-19 list), or defensive end Chris Wormley, who has been on Reserve/Injured for several weeks.
As mentioned, Rader was protected for the first time a week ago. Smallwood and Cain have both been on the protected practice squad player list multiple times with the latter being elevated to the Active/Inactive roster just one.
It will now be interesting to see if any of the four protected players are ultimately elevated to the Active/Inactive roster on Saturday, the day the team will travel to play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.