The Pittsburgh Steelers begin their preparation for their week five game at Heinz Field on Sunday. In some good news for the Steelers on Wednesday, running back Anthony McFarland Jr. returned to practice. McFarland is still officially on the Reserve/Injured List, but by practicing on Wednesday the clock has started as now the Steelers have 21 days to work him back to the active roster. If not, McFarland will have to remain on the Reserve/Injured List for the remaining of the 2021 season.
RB Anthony McFarland Jr. will return to practice today but remains on the Reserve/Injured List.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 6, 2021
We have 21 days to activate him to the 53-man roster. If he is not activated during that period, he cannot return to the active roster for the rest of the 2021 season.
There was no formal announcement as to the injury which placed McFarland on the Reserve/Injured List. All that was said prior to him spending one day on the active roster and landing on IR was he did not travel for the Steelers final preseason game in Carolina, much like Zach Banner.
McFarland is entering his second year in the NFL where he was active for 11 games in 2020. A fourth-round draft pick out of Maryalnd, McFarland had 33 carries for 113 yards along with six receptions on nine targets for 54 yards in his rookie season.
While McFarland could be activated as early as this week, it could be through the bye week before he rejoins the 53-man roster. Exactly how this will shake out the running back room for the Steelers remains to be seen. Other than first-round draft pick Najee Harris who has seen almost all the snaps at running back, the Steelers have only given Benny Snell three carries for 1 yard and one target which he did not catch. As for Kalen Ballage, he saw his first offensive snaps of 2021 in Week 4 but did not receive a carry on any of his four snaps.
With McFarland returning to practice, the only player still on the Reserve/Injured list for the Steelers who is eligible to return is defense end Stephon Tuitt. No update has been given on Tuitt since he went on the IR at the beginning of September.
Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for breaking news, player updates, injury reports, and all things Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare to take on the Denver Broncos at Heinz Field.