Steelers Sign Former FCS Running Back of the Year

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On Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have signed former Monmouth University running back Pete Guerriero, who has already spent time with both the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.

From Track Scholarship to 2019 FCS RB of the Year

Guerriero—5-foot-9 and 190 pounds—took an unlikely path to a football career, as the New Jersey native went to Monmouth on a track scholarship. As a freshman sprinter, he won the 100-meter dash (10.65) and 200-meter dash (21.89) at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Outdoor Championship.

After that he turned to playing football for the Hawks, and finished with 4,824 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns during a 34-game college career. He really hit his stride in 2019, when he rushed for 1,995 yards (142.5 yards per game), making him the Football Championship Subdivision’s leading rusher in the nation.

Having been named the FCS Running Back of the Year in 2019, he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft with one season of eligibility remaining, yet he went undrafted after running in the 4.47-4.52 range at his Pro Day.

Guerriero: ‘I Want to Prove Everybody Wrong’

While Guerriero didn’t get signed immediately after the draft, he did ink a deal with the Jets in Aug. of 2020, giving him the chance to share a running backs room with the likes of Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore. But he couldn’t survive New York’s final cuts and ended up spending time on the practice squads of the both the Jets and Carolina Panthers last season.

The Jets went on to sign him to a Reserve/Future contract in January but he was waived in May.

He has said that he is highly-motivated to prove doubters wrong.

“I kind of thrive off of that. I thrive off of people who say I can’t do things,” Guerriero told Andy Vasquez of in December of last year. “In my competitive nature, I want to prove everybody wrong. I have a very tight group, small circle of people that I lean on and I want to show those people that believe in me that I can do it as well, and prove them right. Just as much as I want to prove the doubters and the haters wrong.”

2 Steelers Running Backs Remain Injured

Now Guerriero has an opportunity to show Steelers running backs coach Eddie Faulkner what he can do.

As noted by Noah Strackbein, who covers the Steelers for, both Kalen Ballage and Benny Snell Jr. have been sidelined by injuries.

Per Brooke Pryor of ESPN, neither was on the practice field Sunday.

Ballage was injured during Pittsburgh’s 16-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys in last Thursday night’s Pro Football Hall of Fame game, having gained 19 yards, including a touchdown on a four-yard run during the third quarter. After the contest, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that Ballage had suffered a “lower leg injury.” Ballage has been with the Steelers since March, having already played for the Los Angeles Chargers, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

Meanwhile, Guerriero is wearing jersey No. 30, which was worn by James Conner from 2017-2020. In April, Conner signed with the Arizona Cardinals in free agency, where he now wears No. 6.

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