Godwin Igwebuike Atlanta Falcons John David Mercer - USA Today Sports
Atlanta Falcons News

Falcons Sign RB, Elevate 2 Players from Practice Squad for Week 1

The Atlanta Falcons made a few roster changes on Saturday ahead of their Week 1 matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

The Falcons announced that they signed running back Godwin Igwebuike. Prior to Saturday, Igwebuike was on the team’s practice squad, but now, he occupies a spot on the 53-man roster.

To make room for Igwebuike, Atlanta waived defensive lineman Joe Gaziano.

In separate moves, the Falcons also elevated tight end Parker Hesse and cornerback Natrone Brooks from the practice squad on Saturday.

Igwebuike will be making his Falcons debut. The undrafted rookie has appeared in games for the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks during his career. Last season, he played five games for the Seahawks, posting 7 yards from scrimmage on 4 touches.

The 28-year-old has rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in his career. But he’s mostly played on special teams.

With the Detroit Lions in 2021, he played a career-high 288 special teams snaps. Igwebuike returned 28 kickoffs for 297 yards, averaging 24.9 yards per return, that season.

The Falcons adding Igwebuike to the roster is probably a bad sign for Cordarrelle Patterson. The “joker” returned to practice this week, but the team listed him as questionable for Sunday’s matchup.

Igwebuike could provide depth at running back and on special teams if Patterson can’t play.

Brooks, who was an undrafted free agent this year, will get to make his NFL debut versus the Panthers. Hesse, though, will appear in his 26th career game with the Falcons.

Hesse has posted 14 receptions for 132 yards in his career.

The Falcons can elevate Brooks, Hesse and any of their practice squad players a maximum three times before needing to sign them to the active roster to make them eligible to play in a regular season game.