The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Stevan Ridley
Position: Running Back
Experience: 5 Years
Today represents a momentous occasion, as it represents the conclusion of the 2017 edition of the exit meeting series. We wrap it up now with the Steelers’ second-most recent signing. Pittsburgh signed running back Stevan Ridley with just a couple of games left to play, but waited until earlier this week to re-sign him. Now that he has returned, it makes sense to talk about what he showed in his brief time last season.
As will be recalled, the Steelers picked up the veteran running back off the street following the knee injury suffered by rookie running back James Conner. The torn MCL ended the third-round pick’s year, and Ridley was signed to take over as the backup to Le’Veon Bell.
While he may have been available all throughout the season up to that point, you wouldn’t have known it based on the way that he played, as he not only looked as though he was in sufficient football shape, he also flashed some legitimate talent that one would figure would have earned him a contract somewhere at some point.
He did spend a brief amount of time with the Minnesota Vikings in early October after rookie Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending injury. He was released four days after being signed without participating in a game so that they could acquire wide receiver Michael Floyd.
Ridley only saw playing time in the final two games of the regular season, but Ridley rushed for 108 yards on 26 attempts with one touchdown on the ground in his efforts. He rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries, including multiple runs of 10 yards or more, in the season finale against the Cleveland Browns when Bell was rested ahead of the postseason.
It is far from determined what sort of role if any will be in store for the veteran running back this upcoming season, but I do consider it to be clear that he earned the opportunity to compete for one based on what he displayed late in the season a year ago. He will be competing with Fitzgerald Toussaint and perhaps a rookie draft pick as well.