Stillwater graduate Brian Arnfelt was signed to the practice squad by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday following a promising training camp. The undrafted rookie free agent was cut by the Steelers on Saturday, but was among a group of eight players signed to its scout team after clearing waivers.
Arnfelt, a 6-foot-4, 298-pound defensive end, finished with eight tackles, including five solo, in four preseason games. He made two stops in a 25-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Thursday’s preseason finale. The Steelers went winless in the preseason and open the regular season by hosting the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.
As a member of the practice squad, Arnfelt is allowed to practice with the team but is not eligible to play in games unless added to the active 53-player roster. Practice squad players are paid a minimum of $6,000 per week — $102,000 for an entire season — and can be released at any time. By comparison, the rookie minimum salary for 2013 is $405,000.
Arnfelt was signed by the Steelers following the NFL Draft in late April and has already beaten the odds to make the practice squad. According to ProFootballTalk, 37 percent of the undrafted free agents signed last year remained on practice squads while just 16 percent made Week 1 rosters.
During a four-year playing career at Northwestern, Arnfelt contributed to the winningest senior class in that program’s history. He served as a captain for the Wildcats as a senior when he racked up 25 tackles, including six for a loss, and three sacks in 13 games. He was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Week after making four tackles, including one for a loss, in a 22-13 victory over Boston College.
In four seasons at Northwestern, Arnfelt recorded 47 tackles and three sacks in 37 games. He was an Academic All-Big Ten selection and received the team’s Brian Paynter Ultimate Wildcat Award, which is presented annually to the player who “confronts adversity with courage and dedication”.
Arnfelt finished his master’s degree in sports administration in June.
As a prep, Arnfelt helped lead Stillwater to its most recent state tournament appearance in football as a junior in 2006. He also competed at the state track and field meet in the shot put before graduating in 2008.
The Steelers are slated to visit the Metrodome for a game against the Vikings on Sept. 29.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org