Based on the way a few things transpired on Sunday, time might very well be short for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end/fullback Will Johnson.
For starters, Johnson, who originally signed with the team in 2012 as an undrafted free agent, played a season-low one snap in Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders. In addition to that, it’s been clear for some time now that Roosevelt Nix is the team’s primary fullback and he certainly deserves to be based on the way he’s played. If that’s not enough, rookie tight end Jesse James dressed for the first time this season and not only did he appear to play well for the most part, he played a whopping 33 snaps in his debut as the teams No. 2 with Matt Spaeth missing the game due to a knee injury.
Now, keep in mind that Johnson is probably currently serving as the team’s No. 3 running back until newcomer Isaiah Pead gets up to speed, so at least he has that going for him right now. Additionally, as long as Spaeth is slowed by his knee injury, Johnson isn’t going anywhere thanks to his ability to play the No. 2 tight end position in a pinch. However, whenever Pead gets up to speed and Spaeth gets healthy, Johnson becomes one of two expendable players on the Steelers roster alongside rookie defensive end L.T. Walton. Walton, however, is a member of the 2014 draft class, so there’s that to keep in mind.
For now, Johnson’s roster spot is safe, but should the team suffer another short team injury and need to promote another player from their practice squad or sign somebody off of the street, Johnson could find himself being the odd man out. That’s not going to happen this week, but there’s still quite a bit of season left.
Johnson signed a one-year restricted tendered contract during the offseason. He has played 61 offensive snaps this season and has carried the football four times for 7 yards with one touchdown. The West Virginia product has also registered 3 total tackles on special teams this season.