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Steelers RB Godwin Igwebuike Active for 1st Time, Will Return Kicks



Steelers RB Godwin Igwebuike
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Godwin Igwebuike at practice on Sept. 27, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Running back and kickoff returner Godwin Igwebuike is active for the first time in his Pittsburgh Steelers career for his team’s Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

Igwebuike has been with the team since Week 3, when the Steelers signed him from the practice squad of the Atlanta Falcons, but has yet to be active for a game. 

He worked as the kickoff returner in warmups and should be expected to do so during the game. He will be the fourth kickoff returner this season, following Anthony McFarland, Gunner Olszewski and Desmond King. Olszewski and King have been released. McFarland remains on the injured reserve list. Jaylen Warren will be his backup as kickoff returner.

Igwebuke, 29, is a Pickerington, Ohio native. He has bounced around the NFL and the Steelers are his eighth team since going undrafted out of Northwestern in 2018.

The 6-foot, 212-pound Igwebuke was a three-year starter at safety for the Wildcats, and was still playing that position when he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a UDFA in 2018.

Igwebuike played one game at safety with Tampa before being claimed on waivers by the San Francisco 49ers later that season. Igwebuike played five games in San Francisco. All of his contributions in his rookie season came on special teams, and he recorded two tackles.

San Fransico cut him in the 2019 offseason, and he was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles in April. The Eagles dropped him in August and he was claimed by the Jets, who cut him four weeks later.

After spinning through four NFL teams in one season and one offseason, Igwebuike signed up for the XFL, and was drafted by the Seattle Dragons. He played in five games with Seattle in the spring of 2020 and was the team’s starting safety, recording 18 tackles and an interception before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the league down.

In 2021, he signed with the Detroit Lions, who converted him to a running back right before the beginning of the season. He played 17 games with the Lions that year, rushing 18 times for 188 yards. He scored a 42-yard touchdown at Acrisure Stadium against the Steelers. He also had seven catches for 60 yards.

He was cut by the Lions after training camp in 2022 and caught on with the Seattle Seahawks. He played in five games for Seattle, rushing three times for four yards and catching one pass for seven yards.

He signed with the Falcons this spring and made the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on Sept. 9, but then was waived back to the practice squad on Sept. 11.