Running back Anthony McFarlane and offensive lineman John LeGrew were among eight players who joined the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad on Wednesday, the first day in the league the team was able to begin adding additions to their roster.
During the covid-19 pandemic, the NFL expanded the size of its practice squad to 16 players and chose to keep it that way. The Steelers announced half of their available seats Wednesday after countless players from across the league cleared waivers after Tuesday’s final preseason cut deadline.
A former fourth-round pick in 2020, McFarlane seemed poised to break through last summer as a rhythm-changing offensive weapon. But as the regular season approached, he injured his knee and never found the right spot. This year, McFarlane had his moment in training camp, and even in the preseason opener, the Steelers had 56 rushing yards. But he lost out to undrafted rookie Jaylen Warren as one of two backups to starter Najib Harris.
Leglue started the last five regular-season games last season and the Steelers’ playoff loss at left back to the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Steelers selected Kendrick Green and JC Hassenauer as backup offensive linebackers ahead of him, then traded for veteran Jesse Davis.
The training class also added two offensive linebackers signed late in the camp: William Dunkel and Ryan McCollum. Dunkel is an undrafted rookie guard at San Diego State; McCollum appeared in 13 games (starting one) for the Detroit Lions last season.
Each of the four other signings to the practice team announced Wednesday has NFL regular-season experience.
Defensive lineman Carlos Davis has appeared in 15 games for the Steelers since being drafted in the seventh round in 2020. Cody White, the son of newly hired pro scouting director Sheldon White, had five catches and four special-team tackles in 15 games for the Steelers last season.
Hamilka Rashid made one appearance last season as a rookie as a defensive end for the New York Jets but joined the Steelers after being cut. Rushde, who will be an outside linebacker in the Steelers’ program, got some first-team practice reps shortly after arriving in Pittsburgh.
Elijah Riley was the last player the Steelers acquired before their roster shrunk to 53 on Tuesday. A safety, Riley started seven games for the Jets last season and has 13 NFL regular-season experience.
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