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Steelers Sign Familiar Face, Rectifing Previous Offseason Blunder

It seems the Pittsburgh Steelers are attempting to make good on what was literally a rookie mistake.

Linebacker Quincy Roche, a sixth-round selection in the 2021 NFL draft, returned to Pittsburgh for a second stint after the team signed him to a reserve/future deal on January 24, 2023.

Touted as a “big-time steal, it was thought that the Temple/Miami product would make an immediate impact during his rookie season as a rotational guy. He wouldn’t supplant T.J. Watt or Alex Highsmith, of course, but would provide the Steelers with outside linebacker depth they desperately needed.

Instead, Roche was released as part of final roster cuts with the expectation that he’d clear waivers and land on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. Only the New York Giants had other plans and claimed him off waivers.

Prior to his August 31, 2021 release, Roche played 159 snaps in Pittsburgh’s four preseason games, logging 2.0 sacks, two hurries, and five tackles for loss (per Pro Football Focus).

Steelers Could’ve Used Quincy Roche after T.J. Watt, Alex Highsmith Injuries

The decision to release Quincy Roche later returned to haunt the Pittsburgh Steelers after injuries to T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith left them scrambling for linebackers. The two edge rushers were part of the “Groin Club” that also affected cornerback Joe Haden and inside linebacker Devin Bush.

LB Alex Highsmith ALSO has Groin Injury Along with TJ Watt and Joe — Ben Roethlisberger has a left pec injury according to Tomlin. #Steelers

— Bob Pompeani (@KDPomp) September 21, 2021

Watt and Highsmith were ruled out for a critical showdown with division-rival Cincinnati Bengals, which ended in a 24-10 loss.

The Roche mishap eventually forced them to sign free agent Melvin Ingram, and we know what a mess that turned out to be. After Ingram’s trade demands were met, Pittsburgh replaced him with Taco Charlton.

Roche spent the 2021 and 2022 seasons with the Giants, appearing in 17 games (three starts) and logging 36 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

The Steelers will get another crack at Roche once offseason programs start on April 17.

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