Some former Pitt football players saw a tough reality before the start of the new NFL season on Tuesday. There were many cuts of NFL rosters around the league, and many former Panthers see themselves now in a difficult situation.
The cuts came as a result of NFL teams needing to finalize their 53-man rosters by Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. These cuts also don’t mean that these players are out of a job, as some players will rejoin the practice squad and have the opportunity to make the team due to player injuries or poor performances. Other NFL teams also will claim players that end up on waivers and put them on their practice squad as well.
The Cleveland Browns released tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart as a part of their roster cuts. Griffin-Stewart joined the Panthers after four seasons at Rutgers from 2015-18. He played 13 games and started 12 for the Panthers in 2019, finishing with 19 catches for 185 receiving yards and one touchdown.
He recently has spent time since 2020 moving around different practice squads throughout the NFL. These teams include the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and most recently the Browns.
Griffin-Stewart did see limited action for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021, playing in two games for three snaps total.
The New Orleans Satins waived tight end Lucas Krull, who played for the Panthers from 2020-21.
After missing most of the 2020 season due to injury, Krull stepped up his play in 2021. He caught 38 passes for 451 yards and six touchdowns, the most touchdowns by a Pitt tight end since Dorin Dickerson in 2009. Krull signed with the New Orleans Saints as a UDFA, after performing well at Pitt’s Pro Day that would’ve made him one of the top tight ends at the NFL Combine.
The Vikings released defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman, their former sixth round pick in 2021. Twyman played for Pitt from 2018-19, with his 2019 season being one of the best in recent memory for a defensive lineman. He changed his jersey number to 97, in honor of Pitt and NFL great Aaron Donald, and played like it too. He started 13 games, amassing 41 tackles, 12 for loss, and 10.5 sacks. He became the first Pitt interior defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Donald did in 2013. He also earned second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors.
Twyman chose to sit out the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Vikings selected him. He did not make an appearance for Minnesota in 2021, mainly due to him suffering four gun shot wounds while riding in a car,in June of that year.
He made a full recovery and will be on the lookout for teams to sign with, as he is still young and has lots to prove as an NFL player.
Despite the cuts, other Pitt players will likely be getting calls from other teams or earning spots on practice squads.
The Chicago Bears released quarterback Nathan Peterman, but plan to bring him back to the practice squad, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Peterman signed with the Bears in May this year.
Peterman starred for Pitt from 2015-16 after transferring from Tennessee. He threw for 2,855 yards, 27 touchdowns and completed 60.5% of his passes to lead the highest scoring offense in Pitt history at 532 total points, 40.9 points per game in 2016.
The Buffalo Bills drafted him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Peterman’s most notable NFL game is him throwing five interceptions in the first half against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11 of the 2017 season.
After the Bills named him as starter to begin 2018 season, he once again performed poorly. He completed five of 18 passes, threw two interceptions and posted a 0.0 quarterback rating in a Week 1, 47-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
The Bills benched him, and he only appeared in two more games the rest of the season. Peterman has not started a game since 2018 or seen significant minutes. He spent time from 2018-21 with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, spending most of his time on the practice squad. He contributed in one game in a blowout loss in 2020 in Week 12 against the Atlanta Falcons, completing three of five passes.
The Falcons cut running back Qadree Ollison, but he is likely to get calls from other teams, according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson.
Ollison led Pitt in rushing in his first-year in 2015 with 1,121 yards and added 11 touchdowns in place of running back James Conner who suffered a season-ending injury in the first game. For his efforts, he earned Second Team All-ACC, Co-ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
He returned to the same level of production his senior season in 2018. He ran for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns, once again earned Second-Team All-ACC honors.
The Falcons drafted him in the fifth round in 2019. His rookie season, he rushed 22 times for 50 yards and a team-high four rushing touchdowns. Ollison didn’t play much in 2020, but did rush 21 times for 105 yards and a touchdown in 2021.
The Houston Texans waived offensive lineman Jimmy Morrissey, but Wilson reported that he could end up either on the practice squad or could be a candidate for waiver claims with the dearth of centers available around the league.
Morrissey walked on to the Pitt team in 2016 and redshirted his first year. Pitt awarded him a scholarship going into the 2017 season, he then became the starting center and missed only three games in his entire career, which came in 2018 after suffering a season-ending injury against Wake Forest.
Over his time at Pitt, he earned Third-Team All-ACC in 2018, First-Team All-ACC in 2019 and Second Team All-ACC in 2020. He also earned the Burlsworth Trophy in 2020, which marks the most outstanding player who started their career as a walk-on.
The Raiders drafted him in the Seventh Round of the 2021 draft and put him on the practice squad. The Texans signed him off the practice squad and he played in five games in 2021, starting four at center.
The New York Jets waived defensive back Jason Pinnock, but Wilson says that he could be claimed off waivers with how well he performed with the team.
Pinnock played with the Panthers from 2017-20, making 54 tackles and grabbing six interceptions.
With the Jets, Pinnock played in 12 games and started two in 2021, making 16 tackles and forcing two fumbles.
The Cincinnati Bengals waived rookie long snapper Cal Adomitis, but intend to sign him to the practice squad according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Adomitis, a Pittsburgh Central Catholic alum, played for the Panthers from 2017-21, taking long snapping duties from day one.
He played in every game during his Pitt career and finished as the most accomplished long snapper in school history. He earned AFCA All-American honors after a 2021 season that saw Pitt win the ACC for the first time. He also won the Patrick Mannelly Award, which marks the top long snapper in the FBS.