Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said during his Monday press conference that they have been granted a roster exemption until Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. for tight end Weslye Saunders, who is able to return to the team today following his four game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.
“We could choose to activate him and play him in this game or we could choose to make the decision after the game,” said Tomlin in regard to Saunders. “We\’ll see as we get into the week. Right now we\’re just more concerned about getting a schematic plan in place and looking at the overall health of the guys that are in question. In terms of how we build are plan we haven\’t pondered some of those things that are a little less relevant.”
Judging by the snap counts in the Sunday game against the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie tight end David Paulson appears to have passed Leonard Pope on the depth chart as Pope never saw a down on offense. This leads you to believe that Pope could be the odd man out come Friday evening after the team plays the Tennessee Titans Thursday night.
Tomlin was asked about the play thus far of Paulson specifically on Monday. “I think the big thing is that he\’s proven that it\’s not too big for him,” said Tomlin about the play of the rookie out of Oregon. “He\’s an attention to detail guy that works hard. He\’s been a productive player for us on special teams and that\’s not something we underscore when you\’re talking about an offensive guy from the tight end position. He\’s been a multiple special teams participant. So he\’s done good things. He\’s definitely got room for growth, but we\’re not displeased at where he is.”
It might take Saunders a little while to get back in the groove following his time spent away from the team, so it would not be surprising to see him eased into action against the Titans, if he is indeed allowed to dress Thursday night. Paulson certainly received praise from Tomlin on Monday and appears to be a lock to remain on the roster moving forward.