The Pittsburgh Steelers “Kicking Canuck” is now an American kicker as of Wednesday.
According to Teresa Varley of steelers.com on Twitter, Steelers veteran kicker Shaun Suisham, who was born in Wallaceburg, Ontario, became a United States citizen Wednesday afternoon.
— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) February 10, 2016
During his speech at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office, Suisham reportedly joked that he still doesn’t know what a Yinzer is.
While Suisham is now officially a United States citizen, there’s no guarantee he’ll remain a member of the Steelers in 2016 now that the team has found a younger and less expensive kicker in Chris Boswell.
Suisham’s 2015 season ended during the Steelers first preseason game after he suffered a torn ACL in the Hall of Fame Game against the Minnesota Vikings while attempting to make a tackle. After unsuccessfully trying to replace Suisham with veteran kickers Garrett Hartley and Josh Scobee, the Steelers finally found a keeper in Boswell after he won a tryout at Heinz Field prior to the team’s Week 5 Monday night road game against the San Diego Chargers.
After he was signed, Boswell proceeded to make 29 of 32 field goal attempts during the regular season for the Steelers and 26 of his 27 extra-point attempts. He also averaged 63.7 yards on kickoffs during the regular season with 26 touch-backs.
Being as the 34-year-old Suisham is coming off a serious knee injury and is set to earn a base salary of $2.4 million in 2016, he’s a candidate to be traded or released during or after the 2016 preseason. Should either of those two scenarios occur, the Steelers will save $2.4 million in cap space in 2016 with $2.206 million in dead money needing to be accounted for in 2017.
Rest assured, the Steelers will likely carry Suisham on their roster all throughout the offseason in order to allow him to showcase himself during the preaseason. Additionally, by keeping him on the roster the team will also protect themselves against an injury to Boswell. If unable to trade Suisham for a late-round draft pick just prior to the final round of cuts, the team will almost assuredly release him.