Anthony Chickillo returns to practice, ‘good’ to play Sunday for Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo confirmed he returned to practice Friday and is expected to to play during Sunday’s game at the Oakland Raiders.
Chickillo had missed practices Wednesday and Thursday because of an ankle injury. He is officially listed as questionable on Steelers’ injury report, but Chickillo said he will “be good” to play Sunday.
That means something to the four-year veteran because he’s nearing the end of his rookie contract and perhaps is down to his final four games in black-and-gold.
“It’s gone by so fast, man,” Chickillo said. “Learned a lot. Definitely happy to be a Steeler.”
The 25-year-old Chickillo has appeared in all but one game over the past three seasons, serving as one of the Steelers’ best special teams players and now as the No. 3 edge rusher (the top backup to both Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt).
If he played Sunday, he will have appeared in 29 consecutive games for the Steelers, getting four sacks and 35 tackles in that time.
“When I first came here, I didn’t know really what to expect as far as playing outside linebacker because I played with hand in the dirt pretty much my whole life,” said Chickillo, who played defensive end at the University of Miami. “So I learned a lot and I am continuing to learn and getting better.”
Whether Chickillo could return next season might depend on whether he seeks a more assured shot at a starting job – and whether another team will give him that.
The Steelers exercised the fifth-year option for 2019 on former first-round pick Dupree, although that is not guaranteed except for injury. Watt will be in his third season. The only other outside linebackers the Steelers have are undrafted rookie Ola Adeniyi – who made his NFL debut last week – and second-year practice-squad player Keion Adams.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.