Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Making a Run at It a Beefier Jonathan Dwyer Still Thinks He Has the Potential to Be the Steelers' No. 1 Ballcarrier

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Making a Run at It a Beefier Jonathan Dwyer Still Thinks He Has the Potential to Be the Steelers' No. 1 Ballcarrier

Article excerpt

Their annual rushing leaders rank among the most memorable names in Steelers history. Among them were Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis, John Henry Johnson, Bullet Bill Dudley, Willie Parker, Barry Foster.

Jonathan Dwyer?

Yes, Dwyer etched his name in Steelers lore by leading the team in rushing in 2012. His reward is to enter a preseason game tonight against the Washington Redskins near the nation's capital as no more than tied for third on the depth chart at halfback.

Listed ahead of him as sharing the top spot are Isaac Redman and rookie Le'Veon Bell. Mike Tomlin has Dwyer and Baron Batch sharing No. 3. All combined did not rush for as many yards in the NFL as Dwyer did in 2012.

So why the snub?

Perhaps those 265 pounds Dwyer lugged into spring practices, stunning his coaches, were a reason. Or the fact that they drafted Bell in the second round after he ran for 1,793 yards at Michigan State in 2012. Or that Dwyer's 623 yards in 2012 -- the fewest number to lead the Steelers since Merril Hoge did so with 610 in 1991 -- really weren't enough to secure a spot at the top of their depth chart.

The Steelers signed him to a one-year, $1.3 million tender as a restricted free agent and then discovered they had gotten way more than they thought, about 35 pounds more.

Whatever it was, Dwyer must prove himself again, and he came to the training camp that wound up over the weekend determined to do just that. He left those extra pounds at home and after three weeks of camp, 230-pound Dwyer enters the second preseason game tonight quietly making his case.

"I feel like I haven't played up to my full potential," Dwyer said. "If anything, people don't have to write about it, people don't have to say anything, I know what I'm capable of, I know what our room is capable of."

That room of running backs would seem to be a tad crowded at the moment. Bell joined a group of veterans that included Dwyer, Redman, Batch and LaRod Stephens-Howling, who signed as a free agent. They might keep only four halfbacks along with fullback Will Johnson. Dwyer and Batch could be competing for one spot.

Dwyer, though, has bigger goals in mind and, like Redman, said he is not ready to concede the starting job to a rookie. …

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