Labriola On

Tomlin not ruling McDonald out for Monday night

When faced with a depth issue at safety created by an injury to Sean Davis that would land him on the injured reserve list and looking at an opportunity to add a first-round talent at the position to solidify that depth, the Steelers pulled the trigger on a trade with the Miami Dolphins one week ago that brought Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh.

This week the Steelers found themselves in a similar situation at tight end, and this time they worked out a trade with Seattle to bring Nick Vannett to Pittsburgh. Once Vannett passes a physical examination, the Steelers will send their fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to Seattle, and then by the close of business today (which in the NFL means 4 p.m. EDT), they will have to make a corresponding move to create a spot for him on their 53-man roster.

“We dealt with some things in-game from a player availability standpoint that made a lot of things more difficult,” aid Coach Mike Tomlin at his weekly news conference today at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. “Vance McDonald went down in-game; Xavier Grimble went down in-game. For the larger part of the second half of the game, the only tight end we had available to us was Zach Gentry, and coupled with the unavailability of Roosevelt Nix, we were really limited in terms of some of the things we could do offensively, particularly as it pertains to running the football. We have some things to clean up there, which is one of the reasons why we acquired Nick Vannett. Not that we’re counting tight ends out this week, but their availability is in question. We needed to fortify our depth at that position, just like we needed to fortify our depth at the safety position a week ago.”

TOMLIN’S INJURY UPDATE
“Quickly, I’ll outline some other injury-type things: Rosie Nix is probably still out again this week with his knee injury. Some of the other guys who have missed time are more in the questionable category, and their availability (for the game) will be dictated by practice availability and the quality of their work in those practices. Those guys being Anthony Chickillo (foot), Vance McDonald (shoulder), Xavier Grimble, and Vince Williams (knee). We’re getting comfortable with Joe Haden working through what he’s been able to work through. He has been available to us (for the games) the past couple of weeks and (his shoulder) still may limit him at the early portions of the week from a practice participation standpoint. But I like the overall direction of his health.”

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