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Steelers Jaylen Warren Is Holding On Tight To More Than Just His Chance To Make The Final 53-Man Roster

Jordan Schofield/SteelerNation (Twitter: @JSKO Photo)

Steelers Jaylen Warren Is Holding On Tight To More Than Just His Chance To Make The Final 53-Man Roster

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back, Jaylen Warren has had, by any measure, an impact on the RB depth chart during training camp. The undrafted free agent has been impressive physically during drills. Warren has made multiple splash plays during team sessions as both a receiver and a runner. In Saturday night’s first preseason game, he was on the other end of Kenny Pickett’s first touchdown pass as a Steelers quarterback. Something else happened during the game in the second quarter however; Warren fumbled the ball.

Steelers Jaylen Warren

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) during a preseason game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday, Aug.13, 2022 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Arron Anastasia/ Pittsburgh Steelers)

Mike Tomlin, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers abhors fumbles. Warren did not lose the ball when he coughed it up, courtesy of the quick-thinking Miles Boykin. If you were watching the broadcast of the game on NFL Network, Bob Pompeani and Charlie Batch did not mention the rookie’s error. Tomlin did not miss it and addressed the error at his post-game press conference.

“I didn’t like Jaylen putting the ball on the ground,” Tomlin sharply noted. “I appreciate his tackle-breaking, but that standard of expectation is non-negotiable. Thankfully, we got it back. So, we got to get better.”

After the Steelers returned to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA, Josh Rowntree from 93.7 The Fan posted an observation about the former Oklahoma State Cowboy ball carrier on Twitter:

Initially, it was not clear if Warren was punishing himself, or it was mandated that he carry a ball everywhere. Eddie Faulkner, who is entering his fourth season as the running back coach for the Steelers, is the mastermind behind ‘Jaylen’s Baby.’ Faulkner scrawled the words on the underside of the football that has now become Warren’s companion wherever he goes at Saint Vincent College. Warren himself addressed the topic with reporters.

“Yeah, you know, I put the ball on the ground, so they made me carry this around,” Warren said. “If they ever see me, it doesn’t matter where, Walmart, meetings, practice, if they see me without it, it’s a fine. And listen, I’m not trying to get fined.”

Steelers Faulkner

Pittsburgh Steelers YouTube Channel

A running back being forced to carry a ball everywhere is not a new punishment, and if you played high school football or have watched a myriad of football movies on the big screen, you are aware that this exercise is effective. The task of carrying the football everywhere is equal parts embarrassment and muscle memory. It is also a character-building exercise, and it encourages teammates to help the young running back improve his ball control skills.

“Man, people will hit it and make sure I got and have it secure,” Warren said. “Obviously, I have to get better. Man, I can’t put the ball on the ground.”

Steelers Willie Parker

1/28/2006 PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh Steelers running back, Jerome Bettis (36) drags Willie Parker (39) away from his stretching prior to the the Steelers final practice before leaving for Detroit at the Steelers South Side facility. | Peter Diana / Post-Gazette

Warren, who is the cousin of another famous Steelers undrafted free agent running back, Willie Parker, has done a good job so far holding onto the ball under the threat of being fined. Reportedly, if any teammate can knock the ball loose in view of the coaching staff, he will be fined $100. If anyone can retrieve the pigskin and return it to Faulkner, the rookie will lose $500. Undrafted free agents do not make a lot of money unless they are able to find a spot on the final roster. Warren’s livelihood has been on the line since Monday and so far, he is holding on tight.

The newcomer has taken his success and the unfortunate spotlight in stride. If he were not making a positive impact, it is unlikely that coaches would put this kind of effort into building his character. Fringe players who make big mistakes during the summer are easier to cut. Tomlin, who values character and the desire for competition, must be impressed with Warren’s performance.


Steelers Insider Reveals Impressive Training Camp RB Jaylen Warren As The Team’s Most Likely Dark Horse Candidate To Make The 53-Man Roster


Saturday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Benny Snell should get an opportunity to carry the ball and Anthony McFarland Jr. will get to build on his impressive performance against the Seattle Seahawks. Warren should also get his opportunity to prove that he can hold on to his ‘baby.’

 

What do you think, Steeler Nation? If Warren holds on to the ball on Saturday, does he get a roster spot? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.

I have been rooting for the Steelers actively since 1975. I love the Black and Gold and support them through thick and thin. I am a Navy Veteran, living in Jacksonville, FL and never miss a chance to go to the neutral site games here in Jacksonville. I am new to the Steeler Nation website, but I love discussing Steelers Past, Present and Future.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Brian

    August 18, 2022 at 11:37 am

    He needs to make the team. Harris, McFarland and Warren would make a nice RB room.

  2. John

    August 19, 2022 at 1:21 am

    Keep him! He’ll be an asset

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