The Pittsburgh Steelers are signing Pitt grad and former Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison to their practice squad, according to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Ollison, 26, was with the Jacksonville Jaguars this preseason, but was waived on Tuesday. The 6-foot-1, 232-pound back is known as a big, physical runner and could help the Steelers by providing a backup that is similar in stature to starter Najee Harris. He could also help provide a scout team look for bigger backs on the schedule.
A fifth-round pick by the Falcons in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ollison spent three seasons in Atlanta from 2019-21. His most productive season was in 2021, when he rushed 21 times for 105 yards and a touchdown and caught four of six targets for 12 yards.
Ollison was waived by the Falcons last August and signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. He was elevated for three games, but played almost exclusively on special teams, getting just two snaps of offense. Ollison has been a regular special teams’ performer throughout his career.
The Steelers other backups to Harris, Jaylen Warren and Anthony McFarland on the active roster and Greg Bell on the practice squad, are much smaller backs. The team also is reportedly adding former Los Angeles Chargers fullback Zander Horvath to their practice squad, which will give them a full 16 players on that unit.
Ollison spent four years at Pitt. He was expected to redshirt in 2015 until James Conner went down with an injury. He stepped up, running 212 times for 1,121 yards and 11 touchdowns. He then went back to a backup role until he matched that production in 2018, rushing 194 times for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns.