New RB Emerging for Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a sleeper at running back.
Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward (29) gestures
Oct 10, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Ward (29) gestures / Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2024 season with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren leading the way at running back. Cordarrelle Patterson is set to man the third string role, but there could be an opening for another running on the roster.

Right now, Jonathan Ward is the name the watch. The former Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans running back was invited to camp on a tryout basis, looking to earn a spot on the 90-man roster for the summer. At 26-years-old, he's entering his fifth year in the league with 42 games of experience.

"The older you are, the less time you have in the league," Ward told All Steelers. "At the same time, it's just football. Coming out and sharing the gems that I've picked up over the years with the younger guys, it's just a blessing. And that also gives me an advantage too because you get a little bit of a player and a coach in the same aspect."

Ward impressed at rookie minicamp. During individual drills, he showed burst and toughness, plus the ability to block. Eddie Faulkner said he had "old man hands," Ward confirmed - pointing to his strength and ability to pass block.

Now, it's about waiting. The Steelers often sign veterans who attend rookie minicamp, and guessing Ward is next isn't a bad assumption. From there, he'll have to continue to prove himself throughout OTAs and training camp, but he may have a shot at the 53-man team this season.

"I guess I finally get my minicamp since I didn't get one in 2020 because of COVID," Ward said about his opportunity with the Steelers.

"My agent, he reached out to me and told to pack my bad, you're going to minicamp this weekend," he added. "That's all I needed. I was just sitting at home, working out and training and stuff. I just needed an opportunity, whether it was minicamp, signed or however it went. This is my first time in free agency so I didn't know what to expect."

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Noah Strackbein

NOAH STRACKBEIN

Noah is the Publisher for All Steelers, Inside the Panthers (InsideThePanthers.com) and Inside the Penguins (InsidethePenguins.com), and is the host of All Steelers Talk (YouTube.com/AllSteelersTalk). A Scranton native, Noah made his way to the Pittsburgh sports scene in 2017. Now, he's pretty much full-yinzer.