Rarely is it a good thing to have two specialists at the same position on your 53-man roster, in the middle of a week especially. It virtually always signifies that your starter is injured and expected to miss time, whether one game or a long enough stretch to justify a move to the Reserve/Injured List.
It’s a position the Pittsburgh Steelers are not unfamiliar with when it comes to kicker Chris Boswell, who has now missed time in three of the past five seasons. Quite evidently in anticipation of him missing more, they signed Matthew Wright yesterday to the 53-man roster.
The name shouldn’t be unfamiliar to you, even if the leg might be. He was the one who filled in back in 2020 when Boswell missed three games. He went a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts and 7-for-7 on extra points, and he’s since enjoyed stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs, making 28 of 32 career field goal attempts up to this point for an 87.5 percent mark.
Not known for having a big leg, however, he has gone 5-for-7 from distance since last kicking for the Steelers. He made a 59-yard field goal for the Chiefs earlier this season, a range unthinkable when he was in Pittsburgh. It’s something he’s worked on, as he told reporters yesterday in the locker room.
Wright says that he put on weight and “really put in a lot of effort to be more explosive, via Jeff Hathhorn of 93.7 The Fan. “Everything I could do to get more explosive. Everything I do to try and get stronger”.
An undrafted rookie out of Central Florida back in 2019, he originally signed with the Steelers but, of course, did not make the team with Boswell firmly established. They brought him back during the 2020 season, signing him to the practice squad, and had to use three call-ups that year for him due to Boswell’s injury issues.
For whatever reason, he did not sign a Reserve/Future contract with Pittsburgh at the end of that season but instead did so with the Detroit Lions. Still, he did not make the team, but would later find his way to Jacksonville, for whom he kicked in 14 games, a stint that included a 53-yard game-winner that ended a 20-game losing streak for the franchise.
Yet he seems to feel most comfortable in Pittsburgh, does the Lancaster native, who said that he’s upped his diet and weight-lifting while also doing plyometrics. While he is all ears for whatever advice Boswell might have to give him, he is right now simply in the zone.
“Anytime I get to kick the ball I’m happy”, he told 93.7 The Fan. “Just go out there, do what I do best and try to put the ball through the uprights. That’s all I can really focus on”.
While he has thus far lacked a steady starting job, his NFL resume is undeniably solid. His leg has even shown off on kickoffs this season, with 10 of 13 going for touchbacks. It sounds like the Steelers will get a chance to see it on Sunday firsthand—and perhaps for a few or more Sundays after as well.