Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers' Dwyer Hoping Not to Be Odd Man out in Backfield

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers' Dwyer Hoping Not to Be Odd Man out in Backfield

Article excerpt

Jonathan Dwyer doesn't count reps. Not in practice. Not in walkthroughs. Not in games.

The Steelers running back knows it's out of his hands. If he got caught up worrying about how many times he touched the ball compared to Isaac Redman and rookie Le'Veon Bell, his focus wouldn't be in the right place anyway.

Dwyer understands he'll get his chance. The "when" is almost irrelevant.

"I just want to get time, whether it's the first team, the third team, the fifth team if we had one," Dwyer said. "I just want to do what I can do and show that all my hard work has paid off."

He might have to wait his turn in the preseason opener against the New York Giants on Saturday night. Coach Mike Tomlin said Thursday that Bell - taken in the second round of the 2013 draft - will get a chance to work with the starters to get a read on how quickly he's acclimated to life in the NFL.

"I think he has earned that," Tomlin said of Bell. "But, don't be surprised to see him play after those guys are out of the game as well. He, like a lot of guys, we need to get a lot of exposure to."

The news didn't come as a shock to Dwyer. He understood when the Steelers chose Bell with the 42nd overall selection in the draft that Bell would be given every opportunity to win the starting gig. It's also one of the reasons Dwyer spent the offseason losing 25-30 pounds, hoping a slender physique would give him a dash of quickness and a more durable frame.

On the cusp of a true breakout season after topping 100 yards in wins over Cincinnati and Washington in October, nagging hamstring problems kept him from getting a firm grip on the top of the depth chart. Two fumbles, including one in an ugly 20-14 loss to Cleveland that sapped the Steelers of any late-season momentum, didn't help. …

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