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Steelers return Diontae Johnson to the 53-man roster, place Pat Freiermuth on IR

In an expected move after he was a full participant in practice all week, the Steelers have officially activated Diontae Johnson back to the 53-man roster from the Reserve/Injured Designated to Return List. While the Steelers get one receiving target back, they lose another as the announcement included placing tight end Pat Freiermuth on the Reserve/Injured List (IR). Making one final move, the Steelers have released wide receiver Gunner Olszewski.

Missing the last four games, Johnson was injured the first week of the 2023 season and replaced on IR ahead of Week 2. Johnson’s injury occurred early in the second half of the Steelers opening game as he only played 27 offensive snaps where he has three receptions on six targets for 48 yards.

Playing his third NFL season, Pat Freiermuth missed the Steelers Week 5 matchup with his hamstring injury. Returning to practice this week, Freiermuth was a full participant on Wednesday but reaggravated injury during Thursday’s practice and will miss at least the next four games. On the year, Freiermuth only had eight receptions on 13 targets for 53 yards, but had two of the five Steelers offensive touchdowns and has been the only player this season to score inside of the red zone.

Signed during the 2022 offseason, Gunner Olszewski appeared in 18 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers with two starts. In 2022, Olszewski lost his job as a punt returner after two fumbled punts early in the season. As a receiver, he had five receptions for 53 yards. In 2023, Olszewski was a healthy scratch for two of the Steelers five games while being in the NFL concussion protocol for another. In the two games in which he appeared, Olszewski had one reception for 0 yards in which he fumbled, one punt return for 8 yards in which he fumbled, and two kickoff returns for 24 yards on one and the other where is he mistakenly attempted to stay in bounds while fielding the ball.

One expected move that was not announced was the return of running back Anthony McFarland Jr. who also had his 21-day window to return to the 53-man roster opened on Monday. McFarland was a full participant in practice all week but was not announced among these other roster moves.

It was reported yesterday that the Steelers were planning on releasing Olszewski which probably prompted the Steelers to make two roster moves. By only having Johnson return and also putting Freiermuth on IR, the Steelers roster currently only has 52 players.

Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Rams this Sunday at 4:05pm EST.

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