Former Pitt football players released as NFL teams finalize 53-player rosters

Some former Pitt football players saw a harsh reality ahead of the start of the new NFL season on Tuesday. There have been a lot of cuts to NFL rosters around the league, and many former Panthers now find themselves in a tough spot.

The cuts came as a result of NFL teams needing to finalize their 53-player rosters by Tuesday at 4 pm ET. These cuts also do not mean that these players are out of a job, as some players will rejoin the practice squad and have a chance to make the squad due to player injuries or poor performance. Other NFL teams will also claim players who end up on waivers and put them on their practice squad as well.

The Cleveland Browns released tight end Nakia Griffin-Stewart as part of their list cuts. Griffin-Stewart joined the Panthers after four seasons at Rutgers between 2015 and 2018. He played 13 games and started 12 for the Panthers in 2019, finishing with 19 receptions for 185 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Recently, he has spent time since 2020 moving around on 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 saw limited action for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021, playing in two games for three snaps total.

The New Orleans Satins released tight end Lucas Krullwho played for the Panthers from 2020-21.

After missing most of the 2020 season due to injury, Krull stepped up his game 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 New Orleans. Saints as UDFA, after a strong performance at Pitt’s Pro Day that would have made him one of the best tight ends at the NFL Combine.

Lucas Krull (7) Pitt Panthers Senior Day – November 20, 2021 David Hague/PSN

The Vikings released defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman, his former sixth-round pick in 2021. Twyman played for Pitt from 2018-19, and his 2019 season was 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 he played like that, too. He started 13 games, amassing 41 tackles, 12 for losses and 10.5 sacks. He became the first Pitt interior defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Donald in 2013. He also earned second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors.

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Twyman decided to sit out the 2020 season and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Vikings selected him. He did not appear for Minnesota in 2021, primarily because he suffered four gunshot wounds while riding in a car in June of that year.

He has made a full recovery and will be keeping an eye on teams to sign with as he is still young and has a lot to prove as an NFL player.

Paris Ford (12) celebrates with Jaylen Twyman (97) after she fired the quarterback from Ohio University on September 7, 2019 Photo by David Hague/PSN

Despite the cuts, other Pitt players are likely to get calls from other teams or earn spots on practice squads.

The Chicago Bears have released quarterback Nathan Peterman, but plan to bring him back to the practice squad. according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Peterman signed with the Bears in May of this year.

Peterman starred as Pitt from 2015 to 2016 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 with 532 total points, 40.9 points per game in 2016.

The Buffalo Bills selected him in the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Peterman’s most notable NFL game is when he threw five first-half interceptions against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11 of the 2017 season.

After the Bills named him the starter to start the 2018 season, he once again underperformed. 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 hasn’t started a game since 2018 or seen significant minutes. He spent time between 2018 and 2021 with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders, spending most of his time on the practice squad. He contributed in one game in a 2020 Week 12 blowout loss against the Atlanta Falcons, completing three of five passes.

Qadree Ollison (3) at the ACC Championship Game on December 1, 2018 — David Hague/PSN

The Falcons released running back Qadree Ollison, but he’s likely to get calls from other teams. according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

Ollison led Pitt in rushing as a freshman 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 All-ACC Second Team, Co-ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

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He returned to the same level of production in his senior season in 2018. He rushed for 1,213 yards and 11 touchdowns, once again earning All-ACC Second Team honors.

The Falcons drafted him in the fifth round in 2019. In 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 he rushed 21 times for 105 yards and a touchdown in 2021.

The Houston Texans released offensive lineman Jimmy Morrissey, but Wilson reported that he he could end up on the practice squad or he could be a candidate for waiver claims with the shortage of available centers in the league.

Morrissey joined the Pitt team in 2016 and wore red his freshman year. Pitt gave him a scholarship before the 2017 season, then he 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.

During his time at Pitt, he earned All-ACC Third Team in 2018, All-ACC First Team in 2019, and All-ACC Second Team in 2020. He also won the Burlsworth Trophy in 2020, which marks the most outstanding player to start his 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 cut him from the practice squad and he played in five games in 2021, four starts at center.

November 21, 2020; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Jaylon Barden (10) receives congratulations after scoring a touchdown from center Jimmy Morrissey (67) and quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the second quarter at Heinz Field . Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets released defensive back Jason Pinnock, but Wilson says he could be claimed off waivers for how well he performed with the team.

Pinnock played with the Panthers from 2017 to 2020, making 54 tackles and collecting six interceptions.

With the Jets, Pinnock played in 12 games and started two in 2021, making 16 tackles and two forced fumbles.

The Cincinnati Bengals have waived rookie long snapper Cal Adomitis but intend to sign him to the practice squad. according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Adomitis, a Pittsburgh Central Catholic alumnus, played for the Panthers from 2017 to 2021, taking on long duties from day one.

He played in every game during his Pitt career and finished as the most successful long snapper in school history. He earned AFCA All-American honors after a 2021 season in which Pitt won the ACC for the first time. He also won the Patrick Mannelly Award, which marks the best long snapper in the FBS.

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