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Alualu placed on Reserve/Injured list

Defensive lineman Tyson Alualu was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Monday, after suffering what Coach Mike Tomlin said was an ankle fracture following Sunday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Alualu was injured in the Steelers first defensive series of the game, on just the fourth play, and didn't return.

Alualu, possibly one of the most underrated players on the defense, played in 15 games in 2020, starting 10, and missed one game with a knee injury. He finished the season with 38 tackles, two sacks, five pass defenses and a forced fumble.

Alualu, a former No. 1 pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars who joined the Steelers in 2017 as an unrestricted free agent, had one of his best games of the 2020 season when he had five tackles, a sack for a loss of 10 yards, two quarterback hurries and a pass defense in the Steelers win over the Denver Broncos in Week 2. He also had five tackles Week 15 against Cincinnati, and four tackles and a sack and forced fumble Week 14 vs. Buffalo. It was Alualu's sack of Josh Allen against the Bills that helped the Steelers set an NFL record with a streak of 70 games with at least one sack, breaking the record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 69 straight games with at least one sack (1999-2003).

Since joining the Steelers, Alualu has played in 64 games, starting 24, and has recorded 145 tackles, 16 quarterback hits, 15 tackles for a loss, eight pass defenses, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. 

With Alualu out, the team promoted defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Mondeaux played in 11 games in 2020, his first NFL action, and has four tackles, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss.

In his first NFL game, last season against the Tennessee Titans, he had snaps on offense, defense and special teams, a unique first game stat. He played 17 snaps on special teams, six on defense, and one on offense, when he lined up at fullback with Derek Watt out because of an injury. And he made his presence known on that one offensive play. Mondeaux had a key block on a one-yard touchdown run by Benny Snell, taking out two Titans defenders.

Mondeaux, who played at the University of Oregon, originally signed with the New Orleans Saints following the 2018 NFL Draft. He was with the Saints during training camp, released before the start of the season, and was signed to the Saints practice squad before the last game of the 2018 season. He was released after the season, signing with the Kansas City Chiefs a few days after his release, but only remaining with the Chiefs for a little over three months in the 2019 offseason. A week after his release from the Chiefs, the Steelers signed him, and he spent the 2019 season on the practice squad. He started the 2020 season on the practice squad before getting activated just days before his first game.

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