Already well-stocked at the running back position, the Pittsburgh Steelers have announced the signing of free-agent RB Wendell Smallwood, who is 5-10 and 208 pounds.
Smallwood played in 15 games for Washington last season, with 22 carries for 81 yards, a 3.7-yard average. He also added nine receptions for 64 yards.
He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth-round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 153rd overall selection. In three seasons with the Eagles he started a total of twelve games and totaled 211 carries for 850 yards and five touchdowns. During those three years he also caught 47 passes for 388 yards, an average of 8.3 yards per reception.
Smallwood played college football at the University of West Virginia.
Heinz Field Readied for Training Camp
In other news, the Steelers also highlighted their efforts to ready Heinz Field for training camp.
“COVID-19 has changed a lot of things,” John Norwig told Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. Norwig, the Steelers’ head athletic trainer said, “It’s not normal, but we’re going to make it work.”
According to Varley, “the PNC Champions Club will be a secure area where players and coaches will have their meals. The spacious West Club will be converted into team meeting space. The North Club, which fills one end zone area, will be broken up into smaller pods for position meeting rooms. And suites will be used by individual players to rest or study between practice and meetings.”
The team will also spread out across three of stadium’s four locker rooms–its own locker room, the visiting NFL locker room, and the visiting college locker room–to allow for social distancing. Meanwhile, weight training will now take place outdoors in a newly-erected 6,000 square foot space. Meanwhile, a 64-foot trailer has been added, where players, coaches and staff members will be tested daily for COVID-19.
Contract Tracing Devices
Most notably, perhaps, the league has provided the Steelers with contract tracing devices, which will be worn by all players and staffers while at team facilities.
“The players will wear a device where if anybody contacts them within six feet it will register who contacted them, and for how long and how many times that day,” Norwig told Varley. “If we should have an issue where someone is COVID-19 positive, we can trace that individual.”
To date, the Steelers only have one player on the NFL’s Reserve/COVID-19 list, that being cornerback Arrion Springs, who was added to the list on Monday.
To date, no Steelers player has opted out from playing the 2020 season, this as compared to the New England Patriots, who have already had six players opt out, including safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, fullback Danny Vitale and offensive lineman Marcus Cannon. The deadline for players to opt-out for the 2020 season will be August 4, at the earliest.
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