Just a few hours ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened the 21-day practice window for rookie WR Calvin Austin III who had been placed on to start the regular season due to a foot injury that he suffered during training camp. The injury kept him out of action since August 12 when he sustained the injury. Austin was able to officially practice with the team today, but still remains on the Reserve/Injured List until Pittsburgh decides to activate him or choose to leave him off the active roster for the rest of the 2022 season.
After getting his first practice since training camp under his belt today, Austin was asked by the media how he felt physically and if he gotten any word if he may get a helmet as soon as this weekend as Pittsburgh prepares to travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills.
“I feel good,” Austin told the media following Wednesday’s practice on video from Chris Adamski’s Twitter page. “So, at this point it’s just continuing to perform out there on the field and then just wait for Coach Tomlin’s word.
The Steelers currently rank 28th in the NFL in passing yards per game (181.5 YPG) and have struggled with getting a consistent pass attack going in recent weeks due to a variety of reasons. Pittsburgh benched Mitch Trubisky last week at the half in favor of rookie Kenny Pickett who provided the team with a spark in the second half, helping Pittsburgh get to a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter only to lose in the final moments. They also featured fellow rookie WR George Pickens more in the passing game as he posted his first 100-yard game as a pro.
The addition of Austin back to the Steelers offense could provide Pittsburgh with yet another young, dynamic weapon that can create in space after the catch which is an area Pittsburgh has sorely struggled with this season. He also can provide value as a jet motion receiver, having more burst and open field speed than the likes of Chase Claypool, Diontae Johnson, and Gunner Olszewski who have all seen opportunities in this facet of the game in recent weeks.
Still, having not been on the field for nearly two months, it’s hard to expect that Austin will get activated and be active on the game day roster, at least for the Bills game. We could very well see Austin get a helmet as he ramps up his activity at practice and shows coaches that he ready to contribute, but those hoping to see #19 out there this Sunday may want to pull on the reins a bit as the rookie fourth rounder out of Memphis works his way back into the fold.