UNITY TWP., Pa. — Jaylen Warren knew that he was not likely to make the Steelers’ 53-man roster. And yet, up to this point in training camp, it seems like he has as good a chance as anyone to make the final cut downs. With Benny Snell back finally, Warren will have to fight tooth and nail to make it.
So, when Warren had a phenomenal game on Saturday against Seattle, it was obvious that the Steelers had a dilemma on their hands. However, Warren’s got one big issue in his fumbles. Throughout training camp and in the game against Seattle, Warren has fumbled the football. It has become a recurring problem throughout his stay in Latrobe.
It was not surprising when Warren came out on Monday carrying a football everywhere he went. After the game, it could have been self-discipline so that Warren would know he could not fumble anymore. Eddie Faulkner was the man who came up with the master plan, instead. Learning to adapt to punishments given to rookies in the past, Faulkner gave Warren the same punishment as many rookies in the past. If Faulkner were to see Warren anywhere without holding the ball, he would be fined.
“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.”
The underside of the football reads ‘Jaylen’s Baby’. That was written on the football by Faulkner to make sure that Warren knows to take care of the football as his life depends on it. It was meant for Warren to take care of the football like he was taking care of his baby. In addition to everything, the ball is full of water and heavy. Warren even let me hold the ball, and it is far from a normal-sized football.
Throughout the day, players will come around and try to knock it out of Warren’s hands. Jaylen Warren has responded by taking it in stride. It is preparing him for the next step in his game. To this point, Warren has completely protected the football over the course of two full days.
“Man, people will hit it and make sure I got and have it secure,” Warren said. “But the thing is, they can’t see me without it. I need to have it in my arms.”
Of course, the entire thing reads like a joke to everyone on the outside. For Warren, this is a serious task that he has to handle. It could be the fumbles that may keep Warren off the 53-man roster when the tough cuts eventually come. Warren has done just about everything else to make the roster. So, if this is something he has to do to make it onto the 53-man roster, Warren will do it.
“Obviously, I have to get better,” Warren said. “Man, I can’t put the ball on the ground. This is an area of improvement I can work on to perfect my craft.”
It will be two massive practices for Warren on Wednesday and Thursday. Then, when the Steelers travel to Jacksonville, he can not fumble in any capacity. The more Warren carries the load and keeps the ball protected, the better his chances of making the roster are.