In the wake of the season-ending injury to running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, I dismissed the notion of the Pittsburgh Steelers re-signing running back Jonathan Dwyer. Yesterday, the Steelers re-signed Jonathan Dwyer.
The reason for my doubt is that the Steelers seem to hate Dwyer. I have no idea why. While other players spent their off-season getting stabbed over trucks or going on drunken rampages down the South Side, Dwyer spent his time losing weight and getting into shape with an eye toward winning the starting running back job. Yet, for whatever reason, the coaches had no intentions of giving him a chance.
Le’Veon Bell rose from third on the depth chart to first without ever taking a single preseason snap. He’s still the team’s anointed featured back despite being healthy for all of three carries thus far this year. Isaac Redman failed miserably as a starter last year and missed the last three weeks of the preseason this year with a stinger yet was handed the starting job on a silver platter. We all saw how that worked out on Sunday.
Dwyer’s reward for leading the team in rushing last season? Dwyer’s reward for leading the team in rushing during the preseason? Dwyer’s reward for working hard during the off-season? He’s cut.
In the face of that kind of disrespect, I figured Dwyer would sooner sign with the Pittsburgh Power than ever lace ’em up for the Black and Gold again. Indeed, he sought employment elsewhere, trying-out for the Giants, Browns, and Ravens. They all passed leaving Dwyer with no option but whimper home like a dog that’s been beat too much.*
Beggars can’t be choosers after all. Time will tell if Dwyer ever gets on the field. Knowing this stupid and arrogant coaching staff, they’ll continue starting iRed just to spite their critics. At least until Bell is ready to return.
The Steelers also signed veteran center Fernando Velasco. In an ironic twist, Velasco was starting center last season for the Tennessee Titans. They didn’t seem to miss him on Sunday so the choice to cut an expensive vet in favor of a cheaper youngster appears to have worked out. In the meantime, the Steelers acquire a guy who started 16 games last year.
Velasco will likely start as soon as he possibly can. Kelvin Beachum did his best when pressed into duty but he is not cut out to be an every game center. Not to mention Beachum is the team’s best (only?) back-up tackle and valuable as a sixth blocker in running formations. Keeping him at his third best position is a waste of his talent and an extremely rare team resource.
And, hey, at least they didn’t re-sign John Malecki.
*(TM) Bruce Springsteen