It must be very confusing for a player to be involved in two trades in the same season, especially for a younger athlete. Talk about mixed signals. One the one hand, there were two teams that were prepared to get rid of you. On the other, there were two teams who were looking to bring you in.
That is where second-year wide receiver Ryan Switzer is at right now, entering his second full day as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and preparing to participate in the team’s preseason finale at home tomorrow against the Carolina Panthers.
“I’ve had a kind of unconventional path with being drafted and then being traded twice”, he admitted, “but ultimately I’m here for a reason. I believe that, and I’m one step closer to finding a place where I fit in and a place where I value me and where I can be myself”.
Switzer is a former fourth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys out of North Carolina from the 2017 NFL Draft. The Cowboys traded him to the Oakland Raiders in April in exchange for Jihad Ward, a third-year former second-round draft pick, so he was traded for a higher-valued player.
The Raiders brought him in with the mind of making him a return specialist (acquiring him in part because they also brought in the Cowboys’ special teams coach), but evidently veteran return man and special teams contributor Dwayne Harris, whom they signed in free agency, won the job, making Switzer expendable, to the Steelers’ pleasure. And perhaps to the young wide receiver’s as well.
“Hopefully I can get back to what I was doing in college and the things that make me the player that I am, so I’m looking forward to doing that over here”, he told reporters, in a comment that suggests a level of comfort finally in his surroundings. A Charleston, West Virginia native, he talked about spending time in Pittsburgh, even participating in a punt, pass, and kick competition at Heinz Field.
He admitted that being traded the second time was easier than the first, though he was not expecting either one of them to happen. But the Steelers have a need and a desire for his services and he is prepared to get to work, right now zeroing in on getting on the field as a return man.
“I know the return game is going to be something that I can pick up quicker”, he told reporters in speaking to the media for the first time since being traded. “Obviously I’m going to dive into the offensive playbook and try to find my niche there, but obviously you can throw somebody back there on the returns sooner than you can offensively, so that’s what I’m kind of focusing on right now”.
Switzer figures not only to be a lock to make the roster but also to dress on a weekly basis as their return man for perhaps both punt and kickoff duties. How much he contributes offensively is going to be a work in progress.