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Steelers to Sign RB from Falcons Practice Squad



Steelers Igwebuike
Detroit Lions running back Godwin Igwebuike is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Robert Spillane on Nov. 16, 2021. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers are signing running back Godwin Igwebuike from the Atlanta Falcons practice squad, according to a report by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.

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

The Steelers have had two open slots on their 53-man roster since placing running back Anthony McFarland and wide receiver Diontae Johnson on the injured reserve list on Monday. Practice squad running back Qadree Ollison replaced McFarland on Monday, but did not record any carries.

Because the Steelers signed him from Atlanta’s practice squad, Igwebuike will have to spend at least four weeks on Pittsburgh’s active roster.

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.

Comparing his pre-draft testing as a running back instead of a defensive back, you can see the appeal. Igwebuike ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, had elite agility in the shuttle (4.12 seconds) and three-cone drill (6.56 seconds) and had a 10-foot-8 broad jump. His RAS score as a running back was 9.77

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.

The Steelers have a short week to prepare for their Week 3 game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. Their first practice session will be Wednesday afternoon at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.