Steelers Sign ‘Bowling Ball’ of a Rookie Running Back

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The Pittsburgh Steelers signed a new running back on Thursday in the wake of the recent injury to tailback Master Teague III. The latest addition to the team’s backfield is Massimiliano ‘Max’ Borghi (pronounced bor-GEE), an undrafted rookie free agent out of Washington State.

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Borghi, 23, was signed by the Indianapolis Colts in the immediate aftermath of the 2022 draft but was waived on May 18 in favor of free agent addition Phillip Lindsay. This despite the fact that he was named Indy’s UDFA to watch by The Athletic, which has described him as a “5-9, 210-pound bowling ball who rushed for 2,158 yards and had 156 catches as a four-year contributor” for the Cougars.

Borghi, a Colorado native, went on to sign with the Denver Broncos in early August after Damarea Crockett sustained a torn ACL. He carried the ball four times for 10 yards in Denver’s preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys, but was part of the first round of roster cuts earlier this week.

In college, Borghi saw action in 39 games between 2018-21 and averaged 5.8 yards per carry with 32 rushing touchdowns. He also had nine touchdown receptions over the course of his Cougars career, tying him with former Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Steve Broussard for the most total touchdowns in WSU history. That helps explain why he was the only player to be named to the Doak Walker Award (best running back in the country) and Belitnikoff Award (best receiver in the country) watch lists prior to the start of the 2021 season.

Borghi “offers rushing and receiving versatility out of the backfield,” said analyst Lance Zierlein in his draft profile, offering (j)uice to beat the angle and turn the corner outside.” He “might block enough for third-down consideration” added Zierlein, though his “stubby arms require an accurate passer.”

He joins a running back room that is headlined by 2021 first-round pick Najee Harris, but also includes Anthony McFarland Jr., Benny Snell Jr., and rookie undrafted free agents Mataeo Durant and Jaylen Warren, the latter of whom has been a training camp “standout” and is in contention to win the No. 2 running back job.

Master Teague Has Been Waived Injured

Max Borghi takes the roster spot that had been occupied by running back Master Teague III, who was carted off the practice field on Tuesday with a left ankle injury.

Teague, who signed with the Steelers on August 3, was subsequently seen wearing a walking boot.

Steelers’ Cam Heyward Injured at Practice

The Steelers got something of a scare at practice on Thursday when All-Pro defensive lineman Cam Heyward had to be driven to the locker after suffering an apparent injury to his left foot/ankle.

But as noted by Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Heyward soon returned to watch the remainder of practice.

“He said the ankle got rolled up and doesn’t expect it to be a big deal,” indicated Rutter.

The Steelers (1-0) return to preseason action on the evening of Saturday August 20 when they visit Jacksonville to the take on the Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Game time is at 7 p.m. ET.

In terms of the quarterback rotation, head coach Mike Tomlin has already announced that Mitch Trubisky will start, with first-round pick Kenny Pickett coming on second, followed by veteran backup Mason Rudolph.

“This is a big week for (Kenny) in terms of maybe getting in in the first half of this game and I would imagine getting the opportunity to see frontline defenders for Jacksonville,” said Tomlin on Thursday.

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