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Former Steelers RB Anthony McFarland Impresses in UFL Debut



Steelers RB Anthony McFarland

Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. signed with the San Antonio Brahmas of the United Football League this offseason. And while Pittsburgh released McFarland from their active roster during the season, he remained on the practice squad but did not get signed to a future contract after the season’s conclusion, but this is a chance for him to show out. And he did cash in on his chances, grabbing a 28 yard touchdown out of the backfield.

McFarland was the team’s kick returner and finished with nine rushes for 47 yards and his receiving touchdown. It’s a solid start to get back into the NFL, and with little tread on his tires and still just 26 years old, McFarland has lots of upside.

McFarland, 26, had played in three games last season and caught two passes for 11 yards. He also started the season as the team’s primary kickoff returner, averaging 27.3 yards per return on six kicks. 

But after a knee injury sidelined him for a significant portion of the season, McFarland was unable to win that job back from Godwin Igwebuike, a safety-turned-running back that has also been a positive contributor on coverage units. Igwebuike has averaged 25.1 yards per kickoff return.

Igwebuike finished as the only backup behind co-starters Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren on the 53-man roster, and the Steelers rounded out their practice squad with McFarland, but running back Aaron Shampklin received a reserve/future contract while McFarland did not.

The Steelers’ fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, McFarland has been with the club his entire career, but he has been released before. He was waived coming out of training camp in 2022, was re-signed to the practice squad, and spent that entire season on that unit before returning for 2023.