Newcomer Brandon Reilly jumps right in, practices with Steelers
As a wide receiver, Brandon Reilly is used to making quick adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Off the field, he’s become adept at making unexpected changes, too.
Waived by the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, the 25-year-old former Nebraska receiver was out of work for less than 24 hours. The Steelers, faced with a few minor injuries at the position, claimed Reilly off waivers Wednesday, becoming his fourth organization in little more than two years.
Reilly’s journey began in his hometown of Lincoln and included a layover in Minneapolis before he arrived at Saint Vincent in time to practice Thursday afternoon. He was assigned uniform No. 83.
A pretty whirlwind day, eh?
“You can never get too comfortable,” Reilly said. “I’m enjoying it.”
Reilly became the 11th receiver on the 91-man roster. He was added in the wake of a minor injuries to Donte Moncrief (finger) and Ryan Switzer (quad). Moncrief and Switzer returned to practice Thursday, but Johnny Holton remains out with a hamstring injury.
“The availability of guys is probably the most significant thing at this juncture,” coach Mike Tomlin said.
Reilly recently sustained an Achilles injury when he was in camp with the Lions. He said he’s healthy and showed it by contributing in two-minute drills late in practice.
“I was playing some ‘X’ today because they had a few down,” Reilly said. “We’ll see how quick I can pick up the playbook, and then the quicker I do that, the quicker I’ll get a chance to make plays.”
The Steelers’ playbook, however, is not “similar to anything that I’ve had prior,” Reilly said, “but I like to think I’m pretty sharp, and I should be able to pick it up pretty quick.”
Reilly, 25, is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds. He signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and spent most of that season on the practice squad. He spent a brief period with the Lions and Dallas Cowboys practice squads last season.
In January, Reilly re-signed with the Lions only to be cut in May, re-signed in June and cut again Tuesday. With the Steelers, Reilly also is willing to contribute on special teams. He has served as a gunner and played on the kickoff, kick return and punt return units with prior teams.
Along the way, he hopes to make a quick impression on Tomlin and his staff.
“You’ve got to start early,” Reilly said. “If you get their attention early, they got their eye on you and the more plays you make, they slowly work you up (the depth chart). That’s my goal.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .