NFL cut down day has become something highly anticipated by fans across the league. Seeing if their “diamond in the rough” makes the roster or if their team parted ways with a particular player many feel should have been cut loose years ago, dissecting the initial 53-man roster feels like a true start to the regular season. But for those players who were left go on Tuesday, Wednesday brings a new day and perhaps a new opportunity to continue their NFL dream.
Welcome to the NFL practice squad.
After players with 4 or less accrued seasons clear waivers, each team can sign players to their official practice squad. For three seasons now, the practice squad was expanded to 16 players and 6 of those players can be of unlimited accrued seasons (and therefore are players who were not subject to waivers). The players on the practice squad can be promoted by the Steelers or signed by other NFL teams, but once again for 2022 each team can protect up to 4 players from Tuesday on each week who can’t be claimed by another team until after their game. And don’t forget, each week a team can promote up to 2 players from the practice squad to the active roster without having to remove another player.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they announced 8 players of their 2022 16-man practice squad last Wednesday, and the list of players is below:
RB Anthony McFarland
OL William Dunkle
OL John Leglue
OL Ryan McCollum
WR Cody White
OLB Hamilcar Rashed
DT Carlos Davis
DB Elijah Riley
On Thursday, the Steelers then added the following three players to the practice squad:
DB Mark Gilbert
TE Justin Rigg
LB Chapelle Russell
The three players added on Thursday were not a part of the 2022 Steelers preseason. Defensive back Mark Gilbert was on the Steelers 2021 practice squad before being signed to the Detroit Lions. The breakdown now comes as 6 players on offense and 5 on defense. Obviously there will be 5 more players to come.
On September 2nd the Steelers added two more players to their practice squad:
RB Jason Huntley
DL Renell Wren
Huntly was a draft pick of the Detroit Lions and played previously with the Philadelphia Eagles. Wren was formerly of the Cincinnati Bengals.
This left just three spots remaining on the team’s 16-man practice squad, and they were filled by the following trio of players.
S Andrew Adams
CB Josh Jackson
LB Delontae Scott
Safety Andrew Adams was an undrafted free agent out of UConn in 2016 when he signed with the New York Giants. Spending two seasons in New York, Adams appeared in 30 games with 17 starts with one interception and seven passes defensed. After failing to win the starting job in 2018, Adams did not make the 53-man roster and landed in Tampa Bay a couple weeks into the season. After a season of appearing in 13 games with four starts where Adams had four interceptions and nine passes defensed, he signed with the Detroit Lions for the 2019 season. Failing to make the roster out of training camp, Adam‘s headed back to Tampa Bay for two more seasons before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. Once again failing to make the Eagles squad, Adam was back in Tampa Bay for 2021. In his four years in Tampa, Adams played in 57 games with 18 starts and six interceptions with 16 passes defensed. In 2022, Adams was in the New York Giants training camp but failed to make the team.
Cornerback Josh Jackson was a second-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers out of Iowa in the 2018 NFL draft. After three years in Green Bay where Jackson played in 42 games with 15 starts with 86 tackles and 12 passes defense, he was traded to the New York Giants in exchange for cornerback Isaac Yiadom. Released by the Giants in October after not appearing in a game, Jackson landed on the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad where he was elevated for two games and had four tackles. Jackson spent the 2022 preseason with the Arizona Cardinals but did not make the team.
Linebacker Delonte Scott was on the Steelers 2022 preseason roster after spending 2021 on the Steeles practice squad.
The practice squad can change, just like the team’s 53-man roster can certainly change between now and the Week 1 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. For this reason, stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain for any updates on any roster moves and all Steelers news as they prepare for the kickoff of the 2022 season.
For more on the news from today in regards to captains, practice squad additions, and jersey numbers, check out BTSC’s breaking news podcast: