Stevan Ridley’s fumble opens door for Jaylen Samuels’ first NFL carries for Steelers
Every week of his rookie season, Jaylen Samuels has “gotten a hat,” been activated for gameday and had certain plays drawn up for him in that particular gameplan.
For the most part though, on offense, the Pittsburgh Steelers running back merely stood on the sidelines.
Sunday during the Steelers’ 33-18 win against the Cleveland Browns, Samuels’ turn finally came. The fifth-round pick from North Carolina State played extensively in the second half and got his first four NFL carries.
“I am just waiting on my opportunity, and when my number gets called I just want to make sure I go in there and execute the best that I can,” the 6-foot, 225-pound North Carolina State product said after the game. “So that’s what I tried to do today.”
Samuels was in uniform for all six prior games this season but he did not get into one of the games; all but two of his snaps until Sunday had come on special teams. But Samuels served as James Conner’s backup after veteran Stevan Ridley fumbled on the Steelers’ first drive of the third quarter.
Ridley’s fumble was his first since 2013 when he played for New England. It apparently was enough for - at least on Sunday - Samuels to finally scale him on the depth chart as the No. 2 to James Conner. He played seven snaps on offense and gained 17 yards on four carries.
A hybrid tight end/receiver/running back/fullback in college, Samuels is an intriguing piece the Steelers could integrate into their offense. So far, though, the circumstances just haven’t converged for that to happen.
“I don’t get frustrated; I am coming to work every day, bringing my best ‘A’ game because I know football is a physical sport and anything can happen,” Samuels said. “You’ve always got to be the next man up, so you always got to stay ready and be prepared. Come prepared just like the starters come prepared.”
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