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Steelers Sign 9 Players to Practice Squad



Steelers David Perales
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie outside linebacker David Perales at training camp, Aug. 4, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers have inked the first nine members of their practice squad, the team announced on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh signed cornerbacks Luq Barcoo and Anthony Brown, wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, outside linebacker David Perales, defensive linemen Breiden Fehoko and Jonathan Marshall, running back Greg Ball, safety Trenton Thompson, and tight end Rodney Williams to the practice squad.

On the initial signings, only one of those players comes from outside the organization in Brown. Two other reported signings, offensive tackle Kellen Diesch and offensive guard Joey Fisher, have yet to be officially announced by the Steelers. With nine players initially signed to the practice squad, Pittsburgh still has seven spots left to fill on the 16-man practice squad.

Brown was returning from a torn Achilles tendon that he suffered in Week 13 last year, which cost him the end of the 2022 season and has prevented him from working with a team this summer. He spent the most time in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, nabbing a career-high three interceptions in 2021.

Fehoko recorded a career-high 279 defensive snaps and 36 on special teams in 2022. The Honolulu native has appeared in 19 career games with four starts and has 36 tackles. Fehoko has no career sacks and just one tackle for loss. Standing at 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Fehoko competed with Montravius Adams and Keeanu Benton for the starting nose tackle position. Pittsburgh looked to Fehoko as a critical run stuffer, and he proved to be that.

An outsider on the team’s practice squad as their fourth tight end a year ago, Williams caught 99 passes for 1217 yards while in college. He added seven touchdowns to his resume. His athleticism jumped off the page, testing absurdly at his pro day. He posted a 40.5-inch vertical with a 4.55 40-yard dash to wow the spectators.

Fitzpatrick appeared in 76 offensive snaps for the Steelers over three games, seeing increased playing time as the preseason went on, but finished with zero catches on just two targets. A college star at Louisville, the Tennessee Titans selected Fitzpatrick with the 109th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Bell could not spark much offense in his three games with the Steelers during the preseason. On 18 rushes, he notched only 34 yards for 1.9 yards per carry. Bell came out of San Diego State and had a stint in 2022 with the Detroit Lions. But was injured and suffered a hamstring in training camp. He would return for 2023, but the team waived him on July 22nd. Over his college career at three different stops, Bell racked up over 4,000 rushing yards and 33 touchdowns.

A sixth-round pick out of Arkansas in 2021, Marshall played in 4 games in 2021 and put up a quarterback hit and two tackles. Marshall has been on the Jets practice squad since 2022 but has yet to be elevated for a game. Marshall registered 1.5 sacks with the Razorbacks over his four years in Fayetteville. Throughout those years, he added 11.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and 71 tackles.

Thompson came onto the Steelers’ radar after several safety injuries, allowing him to get signed and make plays. During his first game against the Buccaneers, Thompson nabbed an interception. He would make similar plays in practice, earning a boom-or-bust reputation, but he had a nose for the ball.

A hyper-productive college player, Perales played in all 14 games for the Fresno State Bulldogs in 2022 and totaled 47 combined tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. His best game of last season came against San Jose State when he recorded a career-high five tackles for loss and four sacks in that single game.

Barcoo played in all three preseason games but played on defense in just two, earning 42 snaps between the opener against the Buffalo Bills and the finale versus the Atlanta Falcons. He was given a 63.6 grade by PFF for his preseason. He did not record any official statistics over the three games.

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