Just one day after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first game of 2017, the team is reportedly releasing linebacker, L.J. Fort.
Entering his third season in Pittsburgh, L.J. Fort battled for his roster spot with Steven Johnson, before earning the final linebacker role in the final 53-man roster. But, according to NFL writer, Aaron Wilson, the team has decided to release Fort.
Fort’s release comes as a surprise, as he and Tyler Matakevich were the primary backups Sunday behind inside linebackers, Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams. As a special teams player through 14 games in 2016, Fort was assumed to be a high backup for Pittsburgh at inside linebacker.
Entering his fifth season in the NFL, Fort has only accumulated 10 tackles and one sack with three different teams.
Fort’s release could mean an addition to the defensive line for Pittsburgh. With Stephon Tuitt being week-to-week with a bicep injury, the Steelers may be looking to add another defensive end behind Tyson Alualu.
The release of Fort doesn’t impact the defense too much. His contribution this year was going to be minimum as Matakevich was assumed to be the first sub behind Shazier and Williams.
The Steelers also have Arthur Moats, who was inactive for Week 1, but could play both inside and outside. With his return, Pittsburgh doesn’t necessarily need Fort for more than a special teams player. Therefore, adding a defensive end to the mix instead of a third string linebacker is the best bet until Tuitt is back to full-time.
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