Steelers lose undrafted rookie ILB Matthew Thomas to Ravens |
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Chris Adamski

One of the Pittsburgh Steelers proverbial training-camp darlings from August has moved on to a division rival.

Rookie inside linebacker Matthew Thomas was signed to a reserve/future contract by the Baltimore Ravens, according to the NFL’s transactions page. Thomas was considered an intriguing prospect when the Steelers signed him soon after the draft ended in April, and he made the 53-man roster after having a team-high 25 tackles and a sack during the preseason.

Thomas played the Steelers’ first 10 games, making four tackles, all on special teams. Thomas played just four defensive snaps all season, not even getting into the gameplan after injuries to the likes of Vince Williams and L.J. Fort.

He ultimately was inactive for the Week 12 game at Denver before he was cut to make room for Ola Adeniyi coming off injured reserve on Dec. 1. The Steelers signed Thomas to their practice squad two days later.

A former five-star recruit to Florida State with ideal NFL size (6-3, 232) and athleticism (strong combine results for speed and agility), Thomas held some promise to solve the Steelers’ woes in replacing Ryan Shazier after they did not draft an inside linebacker. But Thomas’ issues have always been viewed as more intangible.

“I still feel good, I’m still confident as a player and as an athlete,” Thomas said after the demotion to the practice squad last month.

“Just waiting for my opportunity. And I have to show (teams) more on my end, just show them more urgency and just give them what they want to see.”

Under contract at inside linebacker heading into the offseason, the Steelers have veteran starters Vince Williams and Jon Bostic in addition to special-teamer Tyler Matakevich.

L.J. Fort is due to become an unrestricted free agent. Keith Kelsey, an undrafted rookie in 2017 and former practice-squad player, spent this past season on injured reserve.

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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