PITTSBURGH — In a flurry of Saturday roster moves, the Pittsburgh Steelers gained an offensive starter, while losing one on defense.
The team officially activated tight end Pat Freiermuth from injured reserve but placed safety Keanu Neal on the list.
Freiermuth hasn’t played since injuring his hamstring in the Week 4 loss to the Houston Texans. He was placed on IR after aggravating the injury a month ago.
“Obviously not the start that I wanted, but I’m very happy with us as a team,” Freiermuth said this week. “We’re a very good football team at 6-3, so I’m happy that I can come back in a big division game and be with the guys and get back into the swing of things.”
Neal sustained a ribs injury following his fourth-quarter interception against the Green Bay Packers.
With Neal out, the Steelers promoted second-year safety Trenton Thompson to the active roster for Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns. Thompson, a San Diego State product, saw action in one game for the New York Giants a year ago before joining the Steelers practice squad this season, where he nabbed a preseason interception off Buccaneers quarterback Kyle Trask. Thompson played seven crucial snaps against the Packers to close out the Week 10 win after Neal went down.
“I’ve always been a confident football player, and even though I haven’t had real defensive snaps, I’m just going to keep saying it’s football, man,” Thompson said. “You can’t overthink it.”
With the Steelers also down two inside linebackers in Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander, who were placed on injured reserve in consecutive weeks, the team signed Mykal Walker to the 53-man roster and promoted Tariq Carpenter from the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday’s game.
Walker, who spent three years in Atlanta and started 12 games last season, joined the Steelers practice squad on Oct. 30, and he said Friday he expected to dress and play against the Browns. He also said he and Elandon Roberts practiced wearing the green dot for defensive communication, but he expected Roberts to wear it against Cleveland.
“All I know is they told me I’m playing,” Walker said. “I can’t ask for nothing more than that. I got an opportunity if it’s one player a whole game I’m ready to go.”