Karl Joseph said he couldn’t pass on the chance to become a Pittsburgh Steeler. Even though technically, he did. Joseph visited the Steelers in the offseason but left without a deal and circled back to the Las Vegas Raiders, who cut him as they trimmed their roster down to 53. Joseph came back Pittsburgh’s way, signing to the practice squad and working exclusively there before being elevated to the 53 for Sunday’s win over the Denver Broncos. Talking with reporters post-practice, Joseph explained what makes Pittsburgh special.
“I went to school not too far from here so I know what it’s like to be a Steeler,” he told reporters via Steelers.com. “The whole fan base and how they play defense here, that was always something that was intriguing to me. When I got the opportunity, it’s something that I couldn’t pass up and come here with a great group of guys. With a culture that’s built on winning. So that’s something I wanted to be a part of.”
Joseph attended West Virginia in Morgantown, just about 90 minutes south of Pittsburgh. The Steelers didn’t get the chance to draft him in 2016. Joseph was taken 16th overall by the Raiders, nine picks ahead of Pittsburgh, who wound up selecting Artie Burns after losing out on William Jackson III. Still, the Steelers kept an eye on Joseph during the pre-draft process. Joseph remembers meeting Mike Tomlin during his Pro Day workout and the impact that interaction left on him.
“He was also at my Pro Day. So like I said, it’s a guy I’ve had a great amount of respect for. Played against his teams a few times over my career. Always liked the way he coached and what he’s been about the culture. And guys I’ve always spoke to had nothing but positive things to say about him. So I was excited to come be a part of it.”
Joseph had the chance to join the team at the start of the offseason but explained why he went back to the Raiders.
“It was a lot of different reasons. Obviously I was familiar with the Raider staff. So some of that played a part of it. But it was other reasons that, um, at the time it was best decision for me.”
The Steelers elevated Joseph last week’s game against Denver. He played two snaps defensively as part of the team’s nickel package, blitzing on one occasion. He also logged six snaps on special teams. Back on the practice squad, he probably won’t be elevated again until there’s another injury. Cam Sutton has a good chance to return Sunday night versus Seattle, lessening the team’s need for extra sub-package help.