With Aaron Smith out for an extended period of time and Brett Keisel still hobbled with his injury, it was only a matter of time until Steve McLendon was brought back up from the practice squad. It wasn’t a question of if would happen, but when, and who would be going to make room for him.
On Saturday, we received our answers. McLendon is back, and Thaddeus Gibson is the odd man out.
Gibson, a fourth-round pick this year, being the guy to go is a bit of a stunner. Head coach Mike Tomlin said it was because linebacker is their deepest position and Gibson was simply the “low man on the totem pole.”
In six games he had yet to be active. The question now becomes whether or not there’s a team out there that likes him enough to make another roster move to make room for him, and then claim him on waivers.
It’s a tough situation for the Steelers because Gibson is clearly a young player with some upside, but as a team that’s in a “win now” mode they weren’t in any position to dump a player that’s actually contributing every week.
Frankly, I wouldn’t have been opposed to seeing Jonathan Dwyer as the guy let go on Saturday (Editor’s Note: JJ and Ryan agree). The Steelers aren’t exactly loaded at running back, but Dwyer, like Gibson, has yet to dress for a game and I can’t imagine him being picked up on waivers. And even if he is, a fourth-string running back isn’t exactly the hardest position to fill.