Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers were very intrigued by the potential addition of running back Ahmad Bradshaw, hosting him for visits on two separate occasions. In that same draft, the team drafted it’s bell cow in Le’Veon Bell, but the team’s depth behind him is hurting. Adding Bradshaw would be a major caveat this offseason, especially when it comes in regards to the team’s salary cap woes.
The team is annually up against the salary cap, and this year is no different. At 28, Bradshaw wouldn’t break the bank to sign and would add a veteran presence behind Bell, who may be lost for a game or two to begin the season. Anointed as the backup to Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson this past season, Bradshaw wasted no time in showing everyone who the more talented runner was. He amassed 425 yards on the ground and another 300 through the air. Those two qualities should be very appealing to the Steelers’ front office as they’re both qualities that Bell does very well, thus the drop-off would not be as significant. The 5-foot-10, 217-pounder is also one of the most violent runners in the NFL, never showing fear of lowering a shoulder into would-be tacklers.
Another quality of his that should be music to Kevin Colbert’s ears is the fact that Bradshaw grades out very well in terms of his blitz pickup. Unlike Ben Tate, Bradshaw was elite in that category this past season for Indianapolis, continually stone-walking defenders and allowing quarterback Andrew Luck to make throw after throw while under heavy pressure.
Bradshaw is also a team-first player, not a LeGarrette Blount-type who will abandon his teammates while a game is still being played. He is used to splitting carries, whether it be in his New York Giants days with Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, or just last year with the maligned Richardson. He never griped about a lack of touches, not once. His team-first mentality as well as his toughness would mesh very well in Pittsburgh.
His most recent injury could prevent that from coming to fruition however. Just like in 2013, the team appeared hesitant to pull the trigger on him due to some uncertainty over the status of his surgically repaired foot. As bright a spot as he was for the Colts this past season, it was again cut short when he suffered a broken fibula. He has undergone three surgeries on his right foot alone, along with both ankles, and now the fibula. The reason the team had him in for various visits in 2013 was due to this same injury history. He was reportedly out of his cast and in a walking boot last month, and could be ready to show teams what he can do, just in time for the free agency to begin.
The first ever Veteran’s Combine would be a great pedestal for Bradshaw to not only show that he’s healthy, but to showcase his abilities to prospective teams should he indeed even attend. While Colbert said Tuesday that the team really isn’t all that interested in the event, they would be smart to keep track of his offseason progress regardless.