Steelers add pair of running backs

The Steelers added Najeh Davenport and Gary Russell to their active roster, and added a pair to their practice squad.

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers filled two open roster spots today by signing veteran running backs Najeh Davenport and Gary Russell to one-year contracts. Financial terms of the deals were not released.

Russell, a second-year player who originally made the Steelers roster in 2007 as an undrafted rookie free agent, was with the team for the first two games of the 2008 season before being released Sept. 20. He was added to the Steelers practice squad on Sept. 21 before being promoted today to the active roster.

Russell gained 21 yards on seven carries for the Steelers during his rookie season, but was not active on game day for the team's first two games in 2008.

Davenport originally joined the Steelers as a veteran free agent in 2006, but was released by the team on June 28 of this year. In two seasons with the Steelers, Davenport has rushed for 763 yards and seven touchdowns on 175 carries (4.4 avg.), and caught 33 passes for 394 yards (11.9 avg.) and three scores. He has also returned 28 kickoffs for 571 yards (20.4 avg.) during his Steelers career.

Davenport was originally selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round (135th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He has rushed for 1,788 yards and 14 touchdowns on 384 carries (4.7 avg.) and caught 50 passes for 484 yards (9.7 avg.) and three scores during his six NFL seasons. Davenport has also gained 1,660 yards (22.7 avg.) on 73 kickoff returns during his professional career.

The Steelers had room on their roster for Davenport and Russell after rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall (shoulder) and offensive guard Kendall Simmons (Achilles) were placed on the team's Reserve/Injured List with season-ending injuries.

The Steelers also announced that rookie offensive guard Doug Legursky and rookie defensive end Jordan Reffett were added to the team's practice squad. The Steelers made room for both players on the practice squad by promoting Russell and releasing safety Grant Mason.


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