The Pittsburgh Steelers have now named their four protected practice squad players for Week 12 and the list includes three players very familiar to it and one new one.
The Tuesday list of Steelers protected practice players for Week 12 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 punter Corliss Waitman. Three of the four players, Cain, Smallwood, and Brooks, have been on this list multiple times now. This is, however, is Waitman’s first time being protected.
Waitman being protected is a curious decision and hopefully one not necessitated by an illness of some sorts. We’ll find out by Wednesday evening as that’s when the Steelers would be expected to announce any elevations from their practice squad.
While the Steelers roster currently seems to include 54 players following the moves made on Tuesday, it’s still technically at 53 due to the team being given an exemption for tight end Vance McDonald, who was activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list. The Steelers also signed tight end Kevin Rader from their practice squad on Tuesday and placed tight end Zach Gentry on the team’s Reserve/Injured list.
If McDonald is to play Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens, his roster exemption would need to end and thus the Steelers will need to clear a spot for him.