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Former Buccaneer and Pro Bowl Safety Signs With the Pittsburgh Steelers

All Bucs on FanNation 3/31/2023 Collin Haalboom
© Provided by All Bucs on FanNation

Hoping to re-establish himself as a starting caliber safety, Keanu Neal is hoping to find a home with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially lost another member of their 2022 defense. 

According to his agent, David Canter, Keanu Neal has signed a 2-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Although he was only in Tampa Bay for one season, Keanu Neal proved to be a valuable depth piece for the Buccaneers last season. His experience, intelligence, and aggressive presence — especially against the run — provided a safety valve for a Buccaneers' secondary that dealt with its fair share of injuries over the course of 2022.

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Neal was initially selected in the first round of the 2016 draft by the Atlanta Falcons. His career started off with a bang, and he seemed to be on the fast track to stardom in the NFL. Unfortunately for Neal, he went on to suffer season-ending injuries very early in 2018 (ACL) and 2019 (Achilles), eventually resulting in his contract not being renewed by the Falcons. 

As a UFA in 2021, Neal signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys, where the team experimented with a position change, employing Neal as a hybrid linebacker. It was an adjustment for Neal and saw mixed results, but more importantly, it was a season without any major setbacks due to injury. 

Neal was re-deployed at his more natural safety position under defensive specialist, Todd Bowles, when he signed in Tampa. He started eight games in his lone season as a Buccaneer, and he provided some timely plays, big hits, and as I said, valuable depth for a depleted secondary. 

Keanu Neal's NFL career has been a roller coaster ride to say the least. Still, he's just 27 years old. 

Despite serious injuries, position changes, and three different teams, he's remained a true professional throughout. With three consecutive (mostly) healthy seasons under his belt, don't be shocked if Keanu Neal rediscovers some of the punch that made him such an effective player early in his career. 

He certainly deserves it.

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At the very least, Neal should be able to provide the Pittsburgh Steelers with some valuable depth in the secondary, similar to what he did for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. 

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