Steelers release veteran safety Keanu Neal after failing a physical

FILE - Pittsburgh Steelers safety Keanu Neal (31) celebrates after the Steelers beat the Las Vegas Raiders 23-18 in an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Las Vegas. The Steelers released Neal on Thursday, March 7, 2024, after he failed a physical. (AP Photo/Jeff Lewis, File)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers released safety Keanu Neal on Thursday after he failed a physical with the team.

Neal played in nine games for the Steelers in 2023, eight of them starts. He suffered a rib injury in a win over Green Bay on Nov. 12 when he was hit at the end of a 32-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.

The team placed Neal on injured reserve on Nov. 18.

The 28-year-old Neal signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the Steelers last March. He had 50 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception with Pittsburgh. Neal's departure leaves perennial Pro Bowler Minkah Fitzpatrick and veteran Damontae Kazee as the two most experienced safeties left on the roster with free agency set to start next week.