(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
In a late-night trade on Nov. 1, the Steelers traded a fifth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Jets for inside linebacker Avery Williamson and a fifth-round pick in 2022. Williamson got to Pittsburgh early last week but couldn't physically join the team until Saturday due to COVID-19 protocols. Williamson traveled with the team to Dallas and was in uniform against the Cowboys on Sunday but didn't play any snaps on defense or special teams.
With Vince Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week, Williamson will get a lot of practice reps and should get some defensive snaps or at least get special teams snaps on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. If a scenario comes up where Williams can't play, Williamson will then get the lion's share of snaps on defense at inside linebacker next to Robert Spillane.
"He's going to get a lot of physical reps and preparation this week," Mike Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. "He prepared remotely last week. He is a veteran guy. We had no intentions of using him unless we were forced into it. Thankfully we were not.
"He gets a complete week's work this week with us and in the building, on the field with his teammates and I am looking forward to it."
With only working remotely and not getting any practice reps in the week leading up to the Cowboys game, Williamson was suited up just in case there were injuries and the Steelers had to play him.
“The main thing was in case they needed me, that was the major thing, I think they just kind of wanted me to get accustomed with everything,” Williamson said on 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday.
Williamson said he was studying all week and preparing for whatever prior to the Cowboys game. He also said that he'll be ready to go if he has an expanded role on Sunday if Williams can't play.
“I'm definitely feeling a lot more comfortable mentally with everything and you know how it is though you got to get out there and get through practice first and experience it," Williamson said. "I feel like I am definitely better than I was last week, I'm just going to continue to go over plays and make sure I am locked in for practice this week and try to take in as much info as possible. And ask as many questions as possible and try to keep familiarizing myself with the system. I feel like I am doing a good job so far and I'm definitely catching on pretty quick, so I am excited, ready to get out there and practice and communicate and fly around with the guys."
Williamson previously played for the winless Jets and is now on an undefeated 8-0 team. Williamson experienced his first win of the 2020 season when the Steelers came back and scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the Cowboys, 24-19.
“I was kind of like still caught in the moment like wow, I’m really on a new team, so it was a crazy week,” Williamson said. “It was crazy because like I was on the sidelines sweating and guys are like ‘look, we’re about to get this thing going’ they got that confidence man and I really like that.”