Last Saturday the Pittsburgh Steelers waived running back Terrell Watson from their 53-man roster and filled his spot by signing running back Fitzgerald Toussaint of their practice squad. The fact that Toussaint, who has NFL game experience, even made it eleven full weeks on the Steelers practice squad was a bit of a surprise and apparently he had a few opportunities to go elsewhere but declined to do so.
According to Jacob Klinger of pennlive.com, Toussaint, who originally joined the Steelers as a practice squad player just ahead of the 2015 regular season getting underway, turned down a chance to join the Kansas City Chiefs after being waived by the Steelers during the team’s final round of cuts this year.
While Toussaint would have had to become a member of the Chiefs practice squad initially, he was reportedly promised by Kansas City that he would be promoted to their 53-man roster in Week 2, according to his agent, Vince Calo Esq. Even so, Toussaint decided to stay in Pittsburgh and become a member of their 10-man practice squad once again.
Since turning down that offer from the Chiefs, Toussaint has reportedly turned down offers from three other teams, according to what Calo told Klinger.
“Man, I like it here. Man, I know the system here and I train with these guys, I fight with these guys so I felt like I had to do my due diligence, you know what I mean, just coming in here working for these guys,” Toussaint said, per the Klinger report.
Toussaint’s time in Pittsburgh has been a roller coaster ride of sorts. Following his promotion from the team’s practice squad to the 53-man roster in November of 2015, Toussaint received very limited carries in three regular season games. However, in the Steelers AFC Wild Card game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Toussaint had a coming out party of sorts as he registered 118 total yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches in the team’s win.
In the Steelers next playoff game against the Denver Broncos, Toussaint quickly found himself in the doghouse with several fans of the team thanks to his fourth quarter fumble during a drive that appeared destined to end in points being scored. After recovering that fumble the Broncos offense then drove the length of the field for a go-ahead touchdown and never trailed again.
Since the Steelers lost that game, Toussaint managed to make the 53-man roster in 2016 out of training camp and remained there the entire season on his way to registering 91 total yards from scrimmage on 17 total touches.
While Toussaint didn’t touch the football any during the Steelers Sunday night win over the Green Bay Packers, he did play 16 special teams snaps. Assuming he remains on the Steelers roster through Sunday, Toussaint will likely dress Monday night against the Bengals and if that happens it will be interesting to see if he’s allowed to spell starting running back Le’Veon Bell any during that contest and especially in meaningful situations.
Judging by Klinger’s report, Toussaint is very well-liked and respected in the Steelers locker room and his loyalty to the team this year should be respected by fans as well. Toussaint is a very easy player to root for the remainder of the season and it would be nice to see him ultimately be able redeem himself for that 2015 playoff fumble with a big play or two in the Steelers next several games.