HomeSportsNFLPittsburgh Steelers sign XFL star Luq Barcoo, rookie RB Alfonzo Graham

Pittsburgh Steelers sign XFL star Luq Barcoo, rookie RB Alfonzo Graham

by Kaiden Smith
Pittsburgh Steelers helmet prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Rookie minicamp has come to an end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and with OTAs starting next week, the team has made several roster moves.

On Monday the Steelers signed defensive back Luq Barcoo and running back Alfonzo Graham to their roster, two under-the-radar pickups that could have an impact on both sides of the ball for Pittsburgh.

Barcoo most recently played in the XFL, playing for the San Antonio Brahmas in 2023. In his 10 games with the Brahmas, he recorded 31 tackles and three tackles for loss along with one sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and an interception on the season.

Prior to his season with the Brahmas, Barcoo was an NFL joinery man after going undrafted out of San Diego State in 2020. Barcoo spent time as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, and the New York Jets in just two years’ time.

Graham on the other hand was an undrafted free agent this year, and must have impressed at the team’s three-day rookie minicamp over the weekend. He arrived to Pittsburgh on a tryout basis and left with a three-year contract. Graham played his college football at Morgan State, and in the last two seasons rushed for 1,656 yards and 13 touchdowns and caught 31 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.

He’s a versatile back that also provides kick-returning abilities, and could be a nice addition to the Steelers’ backfield alongside Najee Harris and Jayeln Warren.

Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson calls out NFL over schedule

The NFL unveiled the 2023 regular season schedule last Thursday, revealing an exciting slate of games for the upcoming season.

The league also announced that teams can be featured on Thursday Night Football twice, and in 2023 the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers will be the only two teams in the NFL doing so.

Players have vocalized their frustration with Thursday night games in the past, and adding an extra one to two of the league’s teams also came with some pushback. Steelers’ newly signed veteran corner Patrick Peterson pushed right back, letting out his frustration about Pittsburgh’s upcoming schedule on the ‘All Things Covered’ podcast.

“First of all, I thought it was a rumor when they said teams would be eligible for two Thursday Night Football games,” Peterson said. “My goodness, bro. They are like five weeks apart. It’s tough enough getting up for the first Thursday night game.”

Thursday night games mean fewer days between games for players, which means less rest and recovery for their bodies. The health and safety of all players is a top priority of the NFL, but numerous Thursday night matchups could potentially put that that at a greater risk, especially for older, veteran players like Peterson.

“I get it; they want to find ways to get ball on TV. But you have to think about our bodies, man, especially with me being in year 13. My body don’t recover like it used to. To have two Thursday Night Football games is a bit bizarre,” Peterson explains.

Like Peterson, other players across the league like Patrick Mahomes and Darius Slay have displayed frustration over the new Thursday Night Football rule, and it will be interesting to see if the NFL responds or takes action in the future.