Newest Steelers WR Deon Cain says he’s playmaker team needs
Deon Cain’s most recent NFL game was against the Pittsburgh Steelers. His next one will be for them.
Signed Saturday, Cain injects depth, size (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and speed (4.4 in the 40-yard dash) to a Steelers wide receivers corps in dire straits because of injury.
“They need some immediate playmakers, so that’s definitely me,” Cain said. “I just wanted to come in here and show them I am the guy.”
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) April 28, 2018
The Steelers placed Ryan Switzer on injured reserve hours before they played the Cleveland Browns last Thursday. During that 21-7 loss, they lost JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson to concussions.
Cain is one of three receivers the Steelers added to their organization in response, but he’s the only one on the 53-man roster, so he’s all but guaranteed to be part of the 46-man playing roster Sunday at the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I watched the game and seen how everything (with injuries) went down, so I said, ‘OK I guess you guys do need a little help around here,’” Cain said. “And I am glad they called me.”
Cain was a top recruit coming out of high school, a starter for a national championship team at Clemson and was projected as a second- or third-round pick in 2018 by NFL.com. He fell to Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round, and he suffered a torn ACL injury that ended his rookie year.
Cain played in seven games for the Colts this season, catching four passes for 52 yards. His final game for the team was Nov. 3 when he had no catches and two targeted passes in a loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field. He played 20 snaps in the absence of No. 1 receiver T.Y. Hilton that day, and Indianapolis waived him before their next game.
He was added to their practice squad last week, but the Steelers signed him for their active roster.
“Vertical speed, try to make big plays,” Cain said of his role. “I just want to find my way on the field. I haven’t even been in practice yet, so once I get to practice (the coaches) will get a good feel for me, and I can get a good feel for them. I am excited for the opportunity.”
Cain has known Johnson since their youth in the Tampa, Fla., area.
“He’s like my brother from another mother,” Cain said.
Cain said he was among the first to talk to Johnson after Thursday’s game. Johnson was seen leaving the field with blood coming out of his ear.
“He’s doing good now and going through the protocol,” Cain said. “He is a tough guy so he will def be back out there on the field soon.”
Johnson was in the Steelers locker room Monday, laughing with teammates and appearing in good spirits. Players in concussion protocol are forbidden from speaking to the media.
Smith-Schuster is also in concussion protocol. ESPN reported Monday that he also suffered a knee injury during the play in which he was concussed.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .