CLEVELAND — The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without two key special teamers the rest of the season.
Receiver/returner Ryan Switzer and fullback Roosevelt Nix were placed on injured reserve on Thursday afternoon. Nix has battled a knee injury all season, while Switzer hurt his back against the Los Angeles Rams. Both were already ruled out for Thursday’s game in Cleveland.
With Switzer out, rookie Diontae Johnson becomes the team’s primary punt returner, though Cameron Sutton could also be mixed in. Primarily used in isolated situations this season, Johnson was a prolific punt returner at Toledo, including an 87-yard touchdown.
Switzer was averaging 3.6 yards per punt return this season. He was also the team’s primary kick returner, averaging 18.4 yards per return.
Nix had a significant role against the Dolphins, helping the run game to its best performance all season behind James Conner’s 145 rushing yards. He re-injured his knee against the Rams.
Filling the roster spots of Nix and Switzer are linebacker Jayrone Elliott and receiver Tevin Jones.
It’s not all bad news for the Steelers, though, as cornerback Joe Haden is expected to play Thursday night after being listed as questionable with an illness on the final injury report.