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2022 South Side Questions: Will Calvin Austin III Be Activated To 53-Man Roster This Week?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: Will Calvin Austin III be activated to the 53-man roster this week?

There isn’t a lot that can or will realistically change about the Steelers’ offense between now and the end of the 2022 season to help make it better, outside of simple internal growth. But they do have one skill position player waiting in the wings who has yet to debut.

That would be Calvin Austin III, their fourth-round pick out of Memphis. Austin has been sidelined since the day before the team’s first preseason game, so he has as of yet never even experienced playing inside of an NFL stadium, and in that event, expectations for an immediate impact ought to be tempered, perhaps.

But I think we can safely deduce that by now he is fully healthy from the injury that he suffered months ago. That’s step one, of course. And now he is wrapping up his second full week of practice, once again expressing the desire to be activated this week.

But even if he is activated, will he play? Head coach Mike Tomlin already said that Steven Sims will be the return man, and it’s hard to imagine the team sitting Diontae Johnson, George Pickens, or Chase Claypool, and Miles Boykin has already established himself as a standout special teams contributor, the type of player who gets the extra hat.

Of course, the question that I asked isn’t whether or not he’s going to have an instant impact or if he’s even going to dress, but rather if he’s going to be activated to the 53-man roster. One might assume that they wouldn’t activate him this week if they don’t plan on him dressing (they have another week yet before they have to activated him), but the possibility remains.

So, will he or won’t he? They did start his clock when they really didn’t have to, necessarily. That could suggest that they are a little more on the eager side to get him going, but we won’t know until they make a move—or don’t.

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