PITTSBURGH — Steelers slot wide receiver Eli Rogers is expected to start the season on the physically unable to perform list, according to a source, giving him more time to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
The Steelers placed Rogers on the PUP list to open training camp, so he hasn’t practiced with the team throughout the preseason. Rogers is suspended for Week 1 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and is eligible for the active roster Sept. 10, after the season opener at Cleveland.
Rogers made an impact in the slot in 2016 with 48 catches for 594 yards, but last season his production dipped to 18 catches for 149 yards. He was benched for one week for in-house violations.
Rogers injured his knee in a playoff loss to Jacksonville, but the team re-signed him to a one-year deal this summer. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said Rogers is skilled at beating man coverage with quickness.
With Rogers still sidelined, the Steelers will open the regular season with JuJu Smith-Schuster as a primary option in the slot. They traded for Ryan Switzer earlier in the week for return help, but Switzer can play in the slot, as well.
Players on the PUP list can begin a three-week practice window after Week 6. The team has to decide inside those three weeks whether to elevate the player to the 53-man roster.