2021 South Side Questions: Will Kevin Dotson Be Activated Today Or Remain On IR For Season?

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 the Steelers activated Kevin Dotson from the Reserve/Injured List today?

The Steelers placed second-year guard Kevin Dotson on the Reserve/Injured List on November 20, where he has remained since, missing the final eight games of the season. He returned to practice, however, exactly three weeks ago, today.

That’s important; very important. When a player is formally Designated For Return from the Reserve/Injured List, a team has 21 days to activate him to the 53-man roster. If they fail to do so, that player must remain on the Reserve/Injured List for the remainder of the season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin has not provided an update on Dotson since he returned to practice; he is not required to, since he is not on the 53-man roster. However, that leaves us unclear as to the lineman’s status and how close he might be to returning.

Given that the Steelers are in the postseason now, and in a single-elimination situation, one would think that they would want to have their normal starting guard on the field. It’s possible that they were content to ride out the season with him on the Reserve/Injured List when playoff hopes looked slim.

But one has to assume they believe he is one of their 53 best players. They currently only have eight offensive linemen on the 53-man roster, as well. But they would still have to release someone. One of the punters would be the most likely player to be released, for obvious reasons.

Yet Tomlin said yesterday that they plan to take their time deciding. Maybe he didn’t realize, when he said that, how little time they actually have, unless they either don’t plan to activate Dotson, or intend to waive somebody else—like Anthony McFarland, or Henry Mondeaux, or Cody White.

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