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2021 South Side Questions: Will J.C. Hassenauer Be Activated From IR (And Start)?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is underway, and they are hoping for a better outcome in comparison to last season. After starting out 11-0, they finished the year 1-4 in the regular season, and then lost in the Wildcard Round to the Cleveland Browns, ignited by a 0-28 first quarter.

They have lost a large number of key players in the offseason, like Maurkice Pouncey, Bud Dupree, Alejandro Villanueva, David DeCastro, Mike Hilton, and Steven Nelson, but they’ve also made significant additions as the months have gone on, notably Trai Turner, Melvin Ingram, Joe Schobert, and Ahkello Witherspoon. They also added Najee Harris, Pat Freiermuth, Kendrick Green, and Dan Moore Jr., all of whom are starting.

There isn’t much left to do but to play the games at this point. Even if they play them poorly. They still have a lot to figure out, though, such as what Matt Canada’s offense is going to look like in any given week, or how the new-look secondary and offensive line is going to play.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Will J.C. Hassenauer be activated from the Reserve/Injured List—and will he start if he is?

The Steelers have had better luck at guard in their history. Starting left guard Kevin Dotson has been out injured and on reserve since November 20. J.C. Hassenauer, who took over his starting role, has been on the Reserve/Injured List since November 27. Now B.J. Finney, who started after Hassenauer, is there, too.

Dotson and Hassenauer are eligible to be activated, but so far, only the latter has been designated for return. All that means, currently, is that he has returned to practice, and that he has 21 days to be activated to the 53-man roster. That does not mean he will be activated this week.

The Steelers need linemen, however. They only have seven on the 53-man roster, right now, and that includes Zach Banner and Joe Haeg as the lone reserves. John Leglue, who was on the practice squad a few weeks ago, started the last game.

If they want to dress eight linemen, then either Hassenauer has to be activated, or they have to promote either Rashaad Coward or Chaz Green from the practice squad, which they can do as a COVID-19 replacement, since Montravius Adams is on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

Hassenauer has started one game this season, and logged a total of 92 snaps on offense. He logged a bit over 300 snaps in 2020, including four starts, with three coming at center and one at left guard. He is currently missing a valuable opportunity to gain playing time.

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