The Pittsburgh Steelers made a few transactions on Tuesday and one of those included them signing tackle Brian Mihalik off of the Detroit Lions practice squad. To make room for Mihalik, tackle Matt Feiler was waived.
Mihalik, who was drafted originally by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Boston College, certainly isn’t a stranger to the Steelers organization as he spent all of the offseason in Pittsburgh after the team signed him to a futures contract this past January. Upon his arrival, the Steelers started the process of converting him from defensive end to offensive tackle just as they did a few years ago with current starter Alejandro Villanueva.
In the Steelers preseason opener against the Lions, Mihalik suffered an MCL injury in the second half of the game and as a result of that, the 6’9 tackle was waved injured. After initially reverting to the team’s Reserve/Injured list after clearing waivers, Mihalik was ultimately waived with an injury settlement a few days later.
A few weeks ago, the Lions signed Mihalik to their 53-man roster and then waived him a few days later. After clearing waivers once again the Lions signed him to their practice squad.
On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about Mihalik and what led to him being brought back to Pittsburgh.
“We’re thin at the tackle position,” Tomlin said. “We’ve lost a number of guys if you look back to our Latrobe group – [Jerald Hawkins] Hawk, our rookie from LSU, Ryan Harris. This is a guy that’s been with us, spent some time with us, worked in the offseason program. Hopefully that time spent will be an asset to him from a preparation standpoint. We’re familiar with him, so we’re excited to have him back.”
While I’m glad the Steelers were able to get Mihalik back in the fold again, I’m perhaps even more excited that him being signed probably means that starting right tackle Marcus Gilbert might be back for Sunday’s home game against the New England Patriots. Gilbert has missed the last two games with an ankle injury and as a result of that, former undrafted free agent Chris Hubbard was forced to make his first two starts of his career.
Being as Mihalik hasn’t been with the team since being waived with an injury settlement, it’s hard to believe that he will be counted on to be a backup Sunday against the Patriots. In other words, I expect Gilbert to be back with Hubbard going back to the bench. Whether or not Mihalik dresses on Sunday will likely come down to how many players are ruled out on Friday with injuries.