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Steelers Name Two ILB Replacements

The Pittsburgh Steelers know who they will add to their roster to replace their injured inside linebackers.

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers need inside linebacker depth after losing Kwon Alexander and Cole Holcomb for the season in back-to-back weeks. However, the staff is searching within for replacements rather than making a big splash, and they have two in mind for this week.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said the Steelers will not look outside the team for help but rather address their concern with practice squad additions. Tomlin mentioned two players who he anticipates being called up in Week 11 against the Cleveland Browns. Those players will be Tariq Carpenter and Mykal Walker.

“We have guys we’re comfortable with,” Tomlin said. “We’ve kind of been forward-thinking in the acquisition with some of our people. Not because they are developing players, but some of our practice guys are present. They’re there because they’re capable players that are just readying themselves for an opportunity.”

Marching into the week with a young and new inside linebacker room, Tomlin said he’s “excited to do so, to be quite honest with you.”

Walker started 12 games last season for the Atlanta Falcons, recording 107 tackles and two interceptions. The former fourth-round pick said he’s ready to add more “experience and versatility” to the team’s inside linebacker room this week.

“I’ve done it before. I’ve had the green dot before. I have participated in big games and I have played games,” Walker said. “Just my experience that I have out there and being able to call upon the coaching staff anytime I have it. I will be asking questions all day. In the locker room, there are never any guys who think they know everything. More assured in asking for assistance, looking for solutions, and similar things. I think what I bring to this room is experience and more versatility.”

Carpenter made his NFL debut in Week 10 against the Green Bay Packers and recorded a tackle on special team. The undrafted rookie out of Georgia Tech made the switch from safety to inside linebacker and highlighted Steelers linebackers coach Aaron Curry as a major help in his transition.

“I’ve been preparing,” Carpenter said. “Coach [Aaron] Curry has been doing a great job of just trying to teach me the position, knowing that I am new to it. I have been here since the beginning of the season.” I’ve been doing a real good job of picking things up, so I’ll be ready.”

After placing Kwon Alexander on injured reserve, the Steelers will have two available spots on the roster. In response to Alexander’s loss, they could add both players to their 53-man roster.

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