By Christina Rivers
The Pittsburgh Steelers came away from their Sunday night game in Carolina with three critical injuries on defense, including linebackers Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier. The Steelers acted quickly in calling recently-retired outside linebacker James Harrison and signed him Tuesday morning. Because of the unique situation, and due to the fact that the Steelers kept five linebackers on their final roster, Arthur Moats, a free-agent acquisition from the Buffalo Bills during the offseason, will get his first official start with the Steelers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.READ MORE: Frick Park Bridge Collapse: 10 People Injured, 4 Sent To Hospital
In his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin called the decision to re-sign Harrison “a simple and easy decision” for the team and announced that Moats will start at right outside linebacker on Sunday. Moats was drafted in the sixth round (178th overall) during the 2010 NFL Draft by the Bills where then coach Chan Gaily moved him from defensive end to inside linebacker, playing in a 3-4 defense. Moats started 13 games during the 2013 season with Buffalo at outside linebacker and recorded a career-high eight tackles against the Carolina Panthers. In December of 2013, Moats was awarded the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award by the Bills for his on-field work ethic off-field generosity
During the Steelers’ off-season training period, Moats said, “You have to put your time in,” when he was asked about coming into Pittsburgh as a veteran with a chance of being a backup. After coming in against Carolina for the injured (Jarvis) Jones, Moats had two solo tackles and helped create pressure on quarterback Cam Newton. “Right now Arthur Moats is the starter because he finished the last football game and played well,” said Tomlin. “We’ll see what (Harrison) is capable of doing and go from there.”
On the season, Moats has also spent time with the special teams unit and has recorded 145 total tackles for his career, six sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Terrence Garvin would be Moats’ primary backup should the Steelers need to rotate, unless Harrison shows this week in practice that he is in shape. “(Harrison’s) level of participation will be determined by what he can execute and his level of conditioning,” said Tomlin. “We’re simply going to play it by ear.”
Steelers Team NotesREAD MORE: At Site Of Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse, President Joe Biden Promises To 'Fix Them All'
Veteran cornerback Ike Taylor had surgery to repair a broken arm that required a metal plate to be inserted. William Gay is the likely replacement but coach Tomlin said on Tuesday, “William Gay played outside in base [in Carolina game]. He played inside in nickel and we brought another guy in. We have some viable guys. It happened to be Antwon Blake in the game because he was next up in the game but we are not discounting what (Brice) McCain is capable of. We’re not discounting what B.W. Webb is capable of. That’s why we acquired him. We’ll let those guys sort themselves out on the practice field as we prepare. The Steelers will keep Taylor on the roster.
Jarvis Jones required wrist surgery and was placed on the Reserve/Injured: Designated For Return List.
Ryan Shazier’s knee injury was less severe than initially anticipated. “(Shazier) has a knee sprain,” confirmed Tomlin. “He can be characterized as out for this week.”
For more Steelers news and updates, visit Steelers Central.MORE NEWS: Investigation Begins Into Cause Of Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse While Rebuilding Could Take Nearly 2 Years
Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on