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Steelers Injury Updates

Steelers Rule Promising Running Back Out vs. Browns



Steelers Anthony McFarland
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 10, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Steelers have ruled running back and kickoff returner Anthony McFarland out of the team’s Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns with a knee issue.

He did not practice at all this week, having been held out of each of the team’s three reported practices. McFarland told Steelers Now on Friday that the injury had been a nagging one that he had been playing through, but significant swelling after Sunday’s season opener against the San Francisco 49ers prompted a recommended course of rest. He hopes that it will not be a long-term absence.

McFarland was one of the few bright spots for the Steelers on Sunday. He averaged 30.3 yards per return on three kickoff returns, which has him second in the NFL in kick return average after one week, trailing only Ty Montgomery of the New England Patriots, who averaged 31.0 yards per return.

The Steelers have listed wide receiver Gunner Olszewski as McFarland’s backup as a kick returner. He was not dressed in the opener, but will likely be this week thanks to the injury to wide receiver Diontae Johnson.

At running back, McFarland didn’t have a big role, playing just five snaps, but he made an impact when he was on the field. McFarland caught two passes, gaining 11 yards. One of them was a crucial fourth-down conversion on the team’s lone scoring drive.

The Steelers only have three running backs on the 53-man roster. If McFarland doesn’t play, tight end Connor Heyward has worked at running back before and could fill in. The Steelers also have two options for a practice squad call-up: former Pitt and Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison, who joined the team after being in camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and ex-Detroit Lions running back Greg Bell, who was with the Steelers in camp.

Ollison confirmed to Steelers Now that he was working with the regular group of practice players and not the scout team on Saturday.

In his fifth pro season out of Pitt, Ollison has played in 22 career games and has 44 carries for 158 yards. He is also an experienced special teams player.

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