After returning to the lineup against the Browns last week, James Conner left the game after reaggravating his shoulder injury.
Coach Mike Tomlin won’t provide an injury update until his Tuesday press conference, and Jaylen Samuels is among those who aren’t sure what Conner’s status will be this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. But he is preparing like he always does, as if he will be the starter
“I don’t know James’ status yet,” said Samuels. “Whatever his status is, I will be ready to go if he is not ready. If he is ready to go that is a blessing. If he is not, I have to step up. Next man up mentality.
“You have to take the same approach every week, like you are starting. That is what I do. With our position, it’s a physical position. We take a lot of hits. We are going to get banged up week to week. You have to be ready. That is my mindset going into every week.”
Samuels and Conner, as well as Benny Snell, have missed time this season with injuries and it has made it challenging for the running game not always knowing who will be available.
“It affects it a lot, changing the game plan, changing the personnel,” said Samuels. “But that is what we get paid to do. We’ve got to come in here, learn what we have to do, get the game plan and go from there. The game plan switches throughout the week but we have to be ready for whatever.”
During the offseason and in training camp the team came up with plays that would have both Conner and Samuels on the field at the same time. But injuries have made those opportunities few and far between this year.
“He has been out, I have been out some games,” said Samuels. “We haven’t been on the field like that a lot this year. Whenever we both are healthy, I am sure you will see more of him and I on the field together.”
Making changes: The Steelers made some changes to their practice squad on Monday, signing wide receivers Quadree Henderson and Amara Darboh and running back Ralph Webb.
Henderson originally signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh following the 2018 NFL Draft. Henderson has also spent time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Giants.
Darboh, who played at the University of Michigan, was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Darboh played in 16 games his rookie season with the Seahawks, finishing with eight receptions for 71 yards. After spending his second season on injured reserve he was released by Seattle. He spent time on Tampa’s practice squad this season.
Webb signed a reserve/future contract with the Steelers this offseason after he was on the Steelers practice squad for a portion of the 2018 season. Webb was originally signed by the New England Patriots after the 2018 NFL Draft, released at the end of the preseason and signed to the practice squad. He was released from the Patriots practice squad during the season, signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad, and later released from the Bucs and signed by the Steelers.
Time change: Kickoff time for the Steelers Dec. 1 game against the Cleveland Browns has been flexed by the NFL.
The Week 13 game will now kick off at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field. It was originally scheduled for a 4:25 p.m. start. The game will remain on CBS (KDKA-TV in the Pittsburgh area).