Two weeks ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers claimed outside linebacker Jamir Jones off waivers and waived outside linebacker Derrek Tuszka, almost a year after they waived Jones to claim Tuszka. Jones talked about coming back to Pittsburgh today, via a video posted to the team’s YouTube channel.
“There’s nowhere else I would’ve wanted to be,” Jones said about coming back to Pittsburgh. “Felt like home coming back, lot of love and I’m happy to be here.”
Jones was Pittsburgh’s sack leader during the preseason last year, and after being waived, he was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Rams. He made a big play in the Rams’ Week 5 win over the Seattle Seahawks, blocking a Michael Dickson punt on Thursday Night Football to help the Rams overcome the Seahawks 26-17. He didn’t stick around long enough to be a contributor in the playoffs for the eventual Super Bowl champions, as he was waived by the Rams in late December before catching on with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he would last until the end of the preseason this year.
Jones’ special teams’ ability is one of the main reasons why Pittsburgh brought him back, and now he’s going to have more of a role on the defense. With T.J. Watt sidelined for at least a month (and probably longer) with a pectoral injury, Jones now becomes the team’s main backup at outside linebacker.
If Jones is able to shine in that role, there’s always a chance he could surpass Malik Reed as the starter alongside Alex Highsmith, but Reed has much more NFL experience and it would be a bit of a surprise if Jones took over. Still, the Steelers clearly value what Jones has to offer and he was a standout in the 2021 preseason.
It’s also clear that Jones enjoys playing for the Steelers and in the city of Pittsburgh. It’s always a benefit when you get guys who truly want to play for your team, and it seems the Steelers have that in Jones.
Jones had two tackles in the Steelers’ Week 1 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, and he also had a pass deflection. He logged 18 snaps on defense and 22 on special teams, but his number of defensive snaps is going to climb in the weeks ahead. Let’s see if Jones is able to take advantage of his increased opportunity and earn the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh long-term.