Raiders Deal WR Switzer to Steelers
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers bolstered their return game on Monday, acquiring wide receiver Ryan Switzer from the Oakland Raiders.
Pittsburgh sent a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft to the Raiders for Switzer and Oakland’s sixth-round pick in 2019.
The Steelers have spent most of training camp experimenting at punt returner, with little success. Rookie wide receivers Justin Thomas and Quadree Henderson and safety Cameron Sutton have all been given opportunities to return kicks during the preseason but have made a minimal impact.
Switzer, a fourth-round pick by Dallas in 2017, averaged 8.8 yards per return last season for the Cowboys. He returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown in a victory over Washington. Dallas also used Switzer sparingly at wide receiver. He caught six passes for 41 yards in limited action as a rookie before being traded to Oakland in April for defensive end Jihad Ward.
Oakland coach Jon Gruden said Monday that the trade means Dwayne Harris will start the season as Oakland’s kick and punt returner. Switzer became expendable after falling behind other receivers on Oakland’s depth chart. He’ll get a chance for a fresh start in Pittsburgh and could be on the field when the Steelers finish up the preseason against Carolina on Thursday.
“He’s a duel return man, a slot receiver of note,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said of Switzer, who grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, about four hours south of Pittsburgh. “He’s a guy we evaluated prior to the (2017) draft … We’ll put him in the mix with these guys and hopefully get him ready to go.”