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Steelers ‘Tough’ Cut Clears Waivers, Signs to Practice Squad



Steelers Breiden Fehoko
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko at training camp, Aug. 17, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Breiden Fehoko has cleared waivers and will sign with the team’s practice squad, according to a report by Mike Garafalo of NFL Network.

Fehoko was put on waivers as one of the team’s final cuts on Tuesday as it marked down to the 53-man regular season roster minimum.

The nose tackle, who signed with the Steelers as a free agent earlier this offseason, was seen as a tough cut by those within the team.

“I like the depth that we have on the defensive line,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said before the cut-down. “It’s been a great competition, and there’s going to be some tough decisions that have to be made. Because I think, at the end of the day, we may lose a guy that we know can play in the NFL.

“So I think those guys, Milk and all those guys, they’ve been doing a really good job. The competition is a healthy competition, which is what I really like. The guys are pushing each other to be better, not being petty about stuff.”

The Steelers ended up not losing a player, as Fehoko cleared waivers and will now be eligible to be activated for games from the team’s practice squad.

Fehoko, 26, spent his first three seasons with the Chargers after going undrafted out of LSU in 2020. Fehoko started his college career at Texas Tech before transferring to LSU in 2017, which concluded with a National Championship with the Tigers in 2019.

Fehoko made the Chargers’ initial 53-man roster in 2022 but was waived on Sept. 12 and re-signed to the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on Nov. 9.  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, but guys such as Isaiahh Loudermilk and Armon Watts took noticeable jumps to prove their value to Pittsburgh’s defensive line room.

Fehoko is the first reported signing to the Steelers’ practice squad. The club can add up to 16 players to that unit.

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