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Cobi Hamilton added to roster to help Steelers wide receiving corps

WR out of Arkansas replaces CB Shabazz for game in Miami.

Mike Tomlin likes to tell players on the practice squad, "If you're not getting better, we're going shopping."

But if they are getting better, they get promoted, as Cobi Hamilton was today by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who in turn released cornerback Al-Hajj Shabazz.

Hamilton is a 6-1 3/4, 201-pound wide receiver in the Sammie Coates mold.

Coates is 6-1 3/8, 212 with hair streaming out the back of his helmet, particularly when he's running go routes with his 4.43 timed NFL Combine speed.

Hamilton has the size, the hair and ran a 4.52 40 at his NFL Combine in 2013. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Cincinnati Bengals, spent his rookie season on their practice squad, spent 2014 on the practice squads of the Philadelphia Eagles and then the Bengals again, and was called up for a Bengals playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the only NFL game in which Hamilton has played.

"We lost," he said. "I didn't catch any balls but I played a significant amount, probably 30-35 snaps."

The Bengals waived Hamilton early in the 2015 training camp. He spent August with the Miami Dolphins but was waived at final cuts and sat out the 2015 season.

Hamilton signed with the Carolina Panthers last January but was released in July. He signed with the Steelers on August 5 and caught eight passes for 84 yards in the preseason before being signed to their practice squad, where at times he's made spectacular catches in practice.

Does he understand the offense?

"Oh, yeah," he said. "I came in and learned in a couple weeks and started making plays in the preseason and things started coming together. I've been pretty engaged in the offense from Week 1 through Week 6, as if I were playing each week."

With Markus Wheaton having been ruled out, Hamilton would play Sunday in Miami if Coates can't. The Steelers' No. 2 wideout remains troubled with a cut between the first two fingers on his left hand, which required seven stitches. Coates missed two practices this week and was limited Friday.

He still had stitches in his hand Friday and may have scared the coaching staff when he went up to snare a high fastball from Ben Roethlisberger. Coates didn't touch the pass, which may have been a good thing on that day.

"You've got to just go up there and try to make it," Coates said. "You can't have any fear. You have to try."

Could the stitches have been ripped open by the pass?

"They could," he said. "It's part of the game. If you want to play, you've got to play."

The Steelers are expected to re-sign Shabazz to their practice squad Monday.


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