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Rookie OLB Ola Adeniyi ‘most definitely’ will be ready to return to Steelers’ practice in 6 weeks

September 30, 2018

Steelers linebacker Olasunkanmi Adeniyi forces a fumble by Carolina quarterback Garrett Gilbert during the second quarter Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, at Heinz Field.

For Ola Adeniyi, the high of improbably making an NFL 53-man roster was followed a day later by the low of being told he can’t play for eight weeks.

An undersized outside linebacker from Toledo, Adeniyi impressed enough during training camp that he was one of only two undrafted rookies to survive the Pittsburgh Steelers’ preseason-ending roster cutdown Saturday.

But as much as getting that call was a joy and a relief (Adeniyi was at his alma mater’s season-opener Saturday), the word he got from the team the next day brought him back down.

Adeniyi was being placed on injured reserve.

“It is what it is. It’s a business,” Adeniyi said Monday after a practice he had to merely watch and not participate in. “And there’s nothing you can do about it. I just have to use it to my advantage, just get my body right, get in better shape, so that when I come back I will be ready to go.”

Adeniyi left Thursday’s preseason finale early because of a hamstring injury.

He said Monday there is “no question” he will be ready to come off IR as soon as he is eligible: after Week 6. (NFL rules dictate he must miss at least eight games, with a 14-day practice window able to start 14 days prior).

Adeniyi said he was not familiar with the NFL’s IR rules until he talked with his agent after getting word from the Steelers.

“At first I thought it was a bad thing,” Adeniyi said, “but when he explained it to me, I kind of thought about it. ‘OK, this is to my benefit and to the team’s benefit as well. Now when I come back they will have me for the rest of the season instead of having me here-there and here-there.’ So it’s a good thing.”

Adeniyi said “the worst part” is that he’s not allowed to practice. Had he been put on the Steelers’ practice squad, at least these next six weeks would have included on-field football. But then again, it would have meant a significant paycut from an active-roster paycheck to a practice squad player.

“I can still be out there watching, take mental reps, watch film, and I can just sharpen up on the playbook, learn everything that I need to learn, get in better shape while I’m at it, and just get my body together to when I come back I am ready to go and be on fire.

“My thing is I just hope these six weeks fly by.”

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