Steelers sign Davenport, likely to add Russell

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The Steelers today signed Najeh Davenport to help rejuvenate their depleted offensive backfield.

Davenport worked out for the club late this morning and signed a contract early this afternoon. He played for the Steelers the past two years but was released after the Steelers drafted running back Rashard Mendenhall in the first round in April.

The Steelers will sign one more back, likely Gary Russell from their practice squad. He made the team to start the season, but was released before their game in Philadelphia to make room for a special teams player. He has been on their practice squad since.

The Steelers placed rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall (fractured shoulder) and guard Kendall Simmons (ruptured Achilles) on injured reserve.

Coach Mike Tomlin declared halfback Willie Parker officially out for a second straight week with a sprained knee and said he hopes he can return for their next game, in Cincinnati Oct. 19, after Jacksonville and after their bye week.

Nose tackle Casey Hampton and defensive end Brett Keisel also are out this week.

Tomlin said the sprained right ankle to running back Carey Davis responded well today but he's not yet ready to decide if Davis can play in Jacksonville.

Davenport, 29, played two seasons with the Steelers until he was released in June. He started the final game of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Jaguars last season when Parker fractured his fibula in Week 15.

Mendenhall was injured on the first play of the second half in last night's game when he was hit by Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis after a 3-yard gain. The Steelers finished the game with just one healthy running back -- Mewelde Moore -- after Davis left the game with his injury.

Because of the season-ending injury to Simmons, the Steelers will work out guard Doug Legursky and consider signing him to the practice squad. Legursky, a rookie free agent from Marshall University, was with the team in training camp.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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