For Week 10 practice squad protections, Pittsburgh tabbed rookie safety Antoine Brooks, wide receiver Deon Cain, tight end Kevin Rader and running back Wendell Smallwood. These four are not eligible to sign with another team until after Sunday’s game.
This is the first time Rader has been protected this season. The Steelers are thin at tight end after Vance McDonald tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s worth noting the Steelers currently have one spot open on the practice squad.
Practice squad “protection” is a new concept for the 2020 season. It’s a concession for the potential personnel shortages that could occur if the virus strikes the locker room.
Teams can designate protected players each Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m., except for clubs that played on the previous Monday night; their designations go into effect prior to 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, Nov. 15 versus the Dallas Cowboys at Heinz Field.