The Pittsburgh Steelers finalized their 2020 practice squad on Sunday, sort of. Of the 16 potential spots on the expanded 2020 practice squad, the Steelers filled 14. Those two spots were expected to be filled once players were available, and the Steelers filled one of the vacancies with running back Wendell Smallwood.
The move made official from the Steelers official Twitter page:
Smallwood joined the Steelers in late July when a roster spot became available due to players going on the Reserve/COVID-19 List. Even as players were activated and the Steelers cut down to an 80-man roster, Smallwood continued with the Steelers throughout training camp. While some looked at him with an outside shot to make the 53-man roster, minor injuries hampered Smallwood at times throughout camp.
Smallwood was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Spending his first three years in Philly, Smallwood had 850 yards on 211 carries and five touchdowns and added another 47 receptions with two touchdowns. In 2019, Smallwood played in Washington where he had only 22 rushes for 81 yards at nine receptions for 64 yards while appearing in 15 games.
Smallwood joins the practice squad along side of running back Trey Edmunds. With the Steelers keeping four running backs and a fullback on the active roster, the two veteran running backs will serve as an insurance policy should injuries starts to plague the running back room.
Exactly why Smallwood was not announced with the initial practice squad on Sunday is unclear. Perhaps he was exploring options with other teams or seeking a contract more than the practice squad minimum. Regardless, Smallwood is now with the Steelers.
There is still one practice squad position remaining for the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers which is believed to be destined for quarterback Devlin Hodges should he clear waivers on Monday.
Hodges has been officially signed to the Steelers’ practice squad:
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Steelers kickoff preparation for Week 1 of the 2020 season.