When you’re the 53rd man on an NFL roster, more times than not you are player that’s expected to contribute on special teams. For the Pittsburgh Steelers that player is currently reserve safety Ross Ventrone and Monday night against the Houston Texans he more than pulled his weight on special teams.
Ventrone, who has shown up on the NFL transaction list as being either released or signed nearly 40 times since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2010, recorded two tackles on kickoffs Monday night against the Texans.
“I’m going to prepare every week like I’m playing, hopefully I’ll stay up (on the 53-man roster),” Ventrone said in a recent interview that you can read on steelers.com. “It’s not up to me, but I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team and I’ll be ready every week. I’m confident in what I can do. I think they have confidence in me. Things work out the way they do.”
Due to second-year safety Shamarko Thomas suffering a hamstring injury in the Week 5 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Steelers were forced to sign Ventrone off of their practice squad just prior to the game last Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. In that game the Villanova product recorded one solo tackle and one assist while covering punts.
“It was crazy,” Ventrone said. “My first game with the Steelers is against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland. It’s a divisional game, a big game for us. I grew up here, so to put on the uniform was crazy in itself. And to make a play, yeah, I was pretty excited about everything.”
With two solid special teams performances in back to back games now on tape, the Steelers might want to think twice about releasing Ventrone again should they need a roster spot in the future. If they do have to release him for whatever reason, I’m sure that one of the other 31 teams in the league would gladly sign him to their roster to serve as a 53rd player.