November 25, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) Jordan Todman had a 49-yard touchdown run for the Carolina Panthers in their final preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

That didn't make enough of an impression on the Panthers, who cut the fifth-year running back. However, it piqued the Steelers' interest enough that they signed him as a free agent in time for the season opener.

''Tape is your resume in this business,'' Todman said Wednesday with a smile. ''You never know who is watching.''

Now Todman is the Steelers' No. 2 running back behind DeAngelo Williams --- another Carolina castoff --- and in position to step up to the first team if something happens to the 32-year-old veteran. It is a potentially pivotal role on a team that is 6-4 and leading the AFC wild-card race going into the game Sunday at Seattle.

''Todman is ready,'' Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. ''He's been here for an extended period of time now. He's been here enough time now to have the details necessary to perform above the line.''

Williams has had a resurgent season, rushing for 507 yards and five touchdowns on 134 carries, adding 13 receptions for 137 yards. He was the Panthers' first-round draft pick in 2006 and spent his first nine seasons there before being released last spring in a salary cap move.

While Williams, along with Todman, has missed out on Carolina's 10-0 start, he has filled in very capably for 2014 All-Pro Le'Veon Bell, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Nov. 1. Williams had just 62 carries last season, causing a bit of concern that he may wear down from a heavier workload.

Todman is hardly a proven NFL back, though he did rush for a 109 yards for Jacksonville in a 2013 game against Buffalo. He has 472 career yards on 115 attempts, including four carries for 22 yards this season.

Like his coach, Todman believes he is prepared if needed.

''I feel like I've showed that I am capable of playing at this level when I've been given the opportunities,'' Todman said. ''It's just been a matter of not a lot of opportunities presenting themselves. I just keep working hard and preparing myself when my time comes.''

Todman has plenty of practice when it comes to learning different offenses. In addition to his time with the Jaguars and Panthers, he was the Chargers' sixth-round draft pick in 2011. He played in one game for them that season before also logging time on the Vikings' practice squad.

''Instead of trying to cram the whole playbook into one week, your best bet is take it week by week along with the game plan,'' Todman said.

The Steelers' third-string running back, Isaiah Pead, is even less proven than Todman despite being the Rams' second-round pick in 2012. The Rams released Pead two games into this season and the Steelers signed him the day after Bell was hurt.

He has been inactive for both games with the Steelers and has just 19 career attempts for 78 yards.

Todman and Pead got a chance for more reps than normal last week, though, when the Steelers held three practices before breaking for their bye.

''I like the work of both guys,'' Tomlin said. ''Both guys are getting better, and clocking in with that attitude on a day-to-day basis.''

NOTES: QB Ben Roethlisberger said he is hopeful he can play Sunday without the padded boot he wore to protect his sprained left foot in the win over the Browns on Nov. 15. ... Every player took part in practice and only CB Brandon Boykin (ankle) was a limited participant. ... LB Terence Garvin, LB James Harrison, TE Matt Spaeth and S Shamarko Thomas were full participants after sitting out the game against Cleveland with knee injuries.

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