Two members of the Pittsburgh Steelers offense and one player on the defense will return to the field after they cleared concussion protocol, the team announced Friday. Quarterback Kenny Pickett, tight end Pat Freiermuth and cornerback Levi Wallace have all been cleared ahead of the Steelers' matchup against the Miami Dolphins on "Sunday Night Football."
Pickett went down with the injury after a hit from linebacker Devin White in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's Week 6 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pickett has been practicing, however, and head coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week that if Pickett was cleared, he would play, so expect the first-round rookie to be under center in Miami.
The quarterback situation was a major question mark heading into Week 7, especially after the report that quarterback Mitch Trubisky was benched against the New York Jets on Oct. 2 over a halftime confrontation with wide receiver Diontae Johnson.
Pickett started the season as the backup, but was named the starter in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills. This season, Pickett has one touchdown and four interceptions with 514 yards and a passer rating of 67.0. Now, the rookie will get another chance to start, and he'll have some help on offense now that Freiermuth is set to return.
Ahead of clearing concussion protocol, Tomlin said Freiermuth was ready to increase his workload and that he continues to be on track to play Sunday. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday. Before sustaining a concussion in Week 5, Freiermuth had 20 receptions for 235 yards and one touchdown.
The Steelers offense has struggled this season, as it ranks 29th in the league in total offense (291.5 yards per game) and 30th in scoring offense (16.2 points per game). Pickett getting more time to get comfortable with his offense, though, and having a key tight end back should help the offense improve.
The defense will also have another player back after Wallace was cleared as well. Wallace suffered the concussion in Week 5 and missed last week's game against the Buccaneers. He was a full participant in practice Wednesday and Thursday.
The Steelers currently stand at 2-4 and are last in the AFC North.