What was quickly believed Thursday night and Friday morning regarding Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb’s status for the rest of the season is now official: he is out for the season.
Holcomb, who left the Thursday Night Football win over the Tennessee Titans with a leg injury late in the first quarter that looked rather serious, was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve Monday morning, the Steelers announced. The corresponding move by the team is the activation of running back Anthony McFarland Jr. from the Reserve/Injured list.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 6, 2023
Holcomb was injured late in the first quarter while in coverage against Titans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, resulting in a 29-yard gain for the veteran, digging the Titans out of a 1st-and-23 hole from their own 5-yard line late in the first quarter. The veteran linebacker was hit by his own teammate, Keanu Neal, as the veteran safety was attempting to tackle Hopkins. Neal’s leg swung and inadvertently hit Holcomb in the knee, resulting in the gruesome injury that caused the veteran linebacker to be carted off with the injury.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Friday morning that Holcomb’s season was over. Per Pelissero, Holcomb was discharged from the hospital on Friday after staying overnight as a precaution and will soon have surgery due to the injury.
Prior to the injury, Holcomb was having a great year after signing a three-year, $18 million deal in free agency, coming over to Pittsburgh from Washington.
Holcomb had 54 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two passes defensed and four tackles for loss, playing 447 snaps on the season. He graded out at a 64.2 overall from Pro Football Focus, including a 72.2 in run defense and a 55.2 in coverage.
McFarland returns to the 53-man roster after being placed on the Reserve/Injured list after the season-opening loss to the San Francisco 49ers with a knee injury.
McFarland had his 21-day practice window to eventually return to the 53-man roster on Oct. 16, the same day as wide receiver Diontae Johnson. Though Johnson was activated the same week, McFarland had a long, slow road back.
Last week, leading up to the Thursday night matchup with the Titans, McFarland was listed as a limited participant Monday in an estimated practice report as the Steelers didn’t practice on the short week. McFarland was then listed as full go on Tuesday and Wednesday but was not activated. Monday was the final day of the 21-day window, so if the Steelers didn’t activate him today, he would have stayed on Injured Reserve the rest of the season.
The Steelers have four running backs on their 53-man roster in Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Godwin Igwebuike and now McFarland.