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Aaron Shampklin Likes Being on ‘Family Oriented’ Steelers Team



Steelers Aaron Shampklin

With only three true running backs likely to make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final 53-man roster, Aaron Shampklin faces a steep climb to beat out the guys in front of him. Of the three open spots, two of them will go to Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren respectively.

Additionally, the hybrid wide receiver turned running back Cordarrelle Patterson is expected to make the roster. Due to his abilities to play both positions and return kickoffs, a fourth running back may be able to sneak onto the roster. The rest of the running backs include Shampklin, Jonathan Ward, and La’Mical Perine.

Shampklin has never played in a regular season game in the NFL but did spend the last two seasons on multiple different practice squads. For that reason, Shampklin played in the USFL last spring to get himself game reps, something he hasn’t had since his an injury.

“Last year, being in the spring league with the Gamblers, it was good being on the field getting games reps and getting back comfortable,” Shampklin told Alan Saunders of Steelers Now. “I had come off an injury from the year before so it was good to actually play in a game again but you can’t beat being in an NFL environment. You got top of the line coaches. You are getting the best criticism compared to what you might get in the spring league.”

Compared to Ward who is a five-year vet and Perine who has a Super Bowl ring, Shampklin lacks experience in the competition but he is not too worried about it and is just focused on winning each rep.

“Honestly, I am just taking it one day at a time,” Shampklin said. “I am not really worried about tomorrow honestly. I am worried about the next rep and act like that rep is a game rep, running full speed, make sure I have my vision and getting those things right.”

One thing that Shampklin learned over the last two seasons is that he belongs. With that knowledge in mind, Shampklin is playing without stress which should benefit his play.

“When I came out my rookie year, going undrafted, you stress about a lot of things that you can’t control,” Shampklin said. “You are always worried about ‘Am I going to get cut today?’ and then it messes with your play. So now, it is focusing on the now. … You got to remember that you are here for a reason, they team wouldn’t [get] you if good enough to be here.”

The Harvard grad has another advantage as he enters camp, Shampklin can learn the playbook very quickly. Another thing that his Ivy League background gained him is an easy icebreaker among his new team mates.

“Coming from the Ivy League everybody thinks that you are the smartest guy in the room which I try to use my advantage because I do spend a lot of time in my playbook so I do ended up knowing a lot,” Shampklin said. “It’s a good talking point for the guys because a lot of people want to know what it was like to be an athlete and go to an Ivy so it’s been a good way for me to communicate with the guys.”

Shampklin has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Los Angeles Chargers since entering the season. The main difference between the Steelers and those teams is the culture according to Shampklin.

“It is very family orientated,” Shampklin said. ” I feel like some of the spots that I have been in, they have cliques here and there but here I came in and they introduced themselves. Guys get to know each other, you can hear it in the locker room, everybody is really talking. You got vets and rookies talking. … That’s what I like, it doesn’t really feel like their is a hierarchy here.”

While Shampklin faces one of the longest shots in regard to making the roster, he will be given the chance to showcase his abilities to Eddie Faulkner and Mike Tomlin in training camp and the preseason.

33 • Aaron Shampklin, Running Back, Harvard
5-foot-10, 195 pounds, 24 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Aaron Shampklin to a reserve/future contract on January 17, 2024.

Last Season: After signing a reserve/future contract with the Indianapolis Colts in January of 2023, the Colts released Aaron Shampklin on May 2. After that happened, Shampklin went to play spring football in the USFL and signed with the Houston Gamblers. He totaled 52 rushing yards on 12 carries in just three games.

Two weeks after his release from the Gamblers, Shampklin signed with the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers waived him two weeks later on August 29, 2023. He remained unsigned for the remainder of the season.

Career: The Dallas Cowboys signed Aaron Shampklin as an undrafted free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft. In August, the Cowboys placed Shampklin on the injured reserve. They released him in September.

The Colts signed Shampklin to their practice squad in December and he stayed there for the remainder of the 2022 season. He received a reserve/future contract from the Colts after the season.

Harvard Steelers RB Aaron Shampklin

Harvard running back Aaron Shampklin rushes the ball.

CollegeAaron Shampklin played his collegiate football at Harvard University. While he was there for five years, Shampklin only played three seasons of football. As a freshman Shampklin played in 20 games and recorded 81 carries for 363 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Shampklin earned First-Team All-Ivy League honors as a freshman in 2017.

The 2018 season was Shampklin’s breakout season as he carried the ball for a career-high 173 times for 1,053 yards and eight touchdowns. He added eight receptions for 133 yards and one receiving touchdown. Shampklin’s high-level play earned him All-Ivy League First-Team honors for the second straight season. Shampklin led the conference in all-purpose yards and rushing yards as a sophomore.

Shampklin missed the entire 2019 season due to an injury and then the Ivy League’s football season was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. He returned to the Crimson for the 2021 season. In nine games, Shampklin carried the ball 148 times for 835 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns.

Year GP Carries Rush Yards Rush TDs Receptions Rec Yards Rec TDs
2017 10 81 363 3 5 46 1
2018 10 173 1,053 9 8 133 1
2019 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2021 9 148 835 11 16 117 1

Salary cap and future: As a player on a reserve/future contract, Aaron Shampklin is signed with the Steelers through the end of the 2024 season. If he makes the team’s final roster, Shampklin will cost $795,000 against the cap space. Since Shampklin’s contract is not guaranteed, the Steelers can release him and not face a dead money penalty.

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