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Steelers Invite Veteran Running Back to Rookie Camp

The Pittsburgh Steelers have invited veteran running back Jonathan Ward, formerly of the Titans and Cardinals, to rookie camp this week.

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Pittsburgh Steelers RB Jonathan Ward
Tennessee Titans running back Jonathan ward (33) is stopped by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris (95) in the second half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have invited their second veteran player to their rookie minicamp this week, as running back Jonathan Ward will be joining the team on a tryout basis, according to a report by Aaron Wilson of KRPC-TV.

Ward is a 6-foot, 202-pound running back rom Kankakee, Illinois. A Central Michigan alum, he started his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2022.

Ward played in 14 games as a rookie, mostly on special teams, and then another 13 games in Arizona in 2021, when he saw his first real offensive action, rushing for 33 yards on nine carries and catching three of four targets for 34 yards.

In 2022, Ward played five games with Arizona, all on special teams, before a hamstring injury forced him to the injured reserve list. He was then released, and spent some time on the New York Jets practice squad before catching on with the Tennessee Titans.

With Tennessee, Ward played in three games in 2022 rushing five times for 25 yards and catching two of three passes for seven yards while again playing a significant role on special teams. He bounced between the Titans practice squad and active roster in 2023, playing in seven games, again mostly on special teams. He totaled just 11 yards on three carries while on offense.

The Steelers have little depth behind their top three running backs, as Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren and Cordarrelle Patterson seem locked into place. Behind them, first-year back Aaron Shampklin out of Harvard and undrafted free agent Daijun Edwards out of Georgia represent the rest of the competition for Ward for a roster spot.

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The other veteran player that the Steelers have invited to their rookie camp is former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett. Teams can invite up to five unsigned veteran players.

The Steelers have four open slots on their 90-man offseason roster, so they will have the ability to hand out some contracts to the numerous tryouts coming to UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for the three-day camp on May 10-12.