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New Orleans Saints ‘Demario Davis reaches for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Le’Veon Bell face mask on December 20, 2020.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are eliminated from the 2020 playoffs, but a dozen former Steelers players still stand a chance of a Super Bowl ring. In fact, there is only one divisional round game – Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers (Saturday at 4:35 p.m. ET) – without a former Steelers player on either squad.
The night game on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET has a former Steeler in every team. The visiting Baltimore Ravens employ former Steelers linebacker L. J. Fort (# 58) while the Buffalo Bills have former Steelers linebacker Tyler Matakevich (# 44).
Of the two, Fort has been more effective for his team this season. Fort has started eight of the 14 games in which he appeared and has credited 53 tackles (32 solo) as well as two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and two fumble recovery. Fort played for the Steelers between 2016 and 18, mostly in special teams.
Tyler ‘Dirty Red’ Matakevich – a former selection of the Steelers from the seventh round in 2016 – has appeared in every Bills game this season but has yet to make a start. He has 23 tackles (12 solo) with two passes defended.
Sunday’s early game – at 3:05 p.m. ET – is the matchup with most former Steelers players, provided you count the practice groups and the injured reserve.
Of course, Le’Veon Bell, who is running signed as a free agent in October after the New York Jets failed to conduct a trade and released him. So far, Bell has not been as successful with the Chiefs as both parties anticipated, but there is still time to change that thanks to recent hip and ankle injuries to Chiefs starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is in question for Sunday’s game.
In nine games with the Chiefs, Bell has 63 carry for 254 yards and two touchdowns. He also has 13 receptions for 99 meters.
Kansas City’s roster also includes former Steelers offensive guard Stefen Wisniewski and punter Dustin Colquitt, who is on the training team.
Wisniewski was signed by the Chiefs in late November after the Steelers released him on November 7th had. Colquitt also played for the Steelers that season but was sacked in October after scoring the second worst net in the NFL in the first five games of the year.
In Kansas City, the Cleveland Browns currently employ three former Steelers players thanks to the recent signing of cornerback Brian Allen, who was removed from Cincinnati’s training team less than two weeks ago.
The Browns have the former too Steelers offensive against Chris Hubbard in injured reserve while wide receiver Ryan Switzer is on the Cleveland training team. The Swiss woman was with the Steelers last summer when he boasted of being « the next [Julian] Edelman. » As it turned out, Switzer failed to make Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster, and so did it took weeks to find a place on Cleveland’s training team, where he stayed for the remainder of the season.
Last but not least, when the Tampa Bay Bucs face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET, the Tampa line-up will include three former Steelers as backups, with Antonio Brown undoubtedly being a « backup » in name only.
Brown has made 45 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular season games this season.
Former Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell and former Steelers defender Steve McLendon are both second in the Buccaneers.
New Orleans has only one former steeler on its roster, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and he hasn’t played for Pittsburgh since 2013 when his rookie deal expired and he signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos . Sanders has 61 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns this year.
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