He’s not the only other player on the roster right now capable of snapping a football, but at the moment, I don’t think there is anybody other than Maurkice Pouncey that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be comfortable taking a snap from outside of fourth-year veteran B.J. Finney.
The 2015 undrafted free agent, who spent his rookie year on the practice squad, has started two games at center in his career, though never in a game that Roethlisberger started. He did work with Roethlisberger in a regular-season game when Pouncey was injured a time or two, including last year.
But the center has played plenty alongside Finney, starting either at left guard or at right guard, so he knows well what he can do. He even spent most of training camp working with him at left guard while Ramon Foster was injured.
“He’s done a tremendous job”, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Pouncey as saying of his lone true backup at center. “He’s played two positions. Whenever you add value like that it always seems to work out. He’s been doing a good job of knowing all the calls. Everyone is comfortable with him in there”.
Presumably, the third center on the roster is Matt Feiler, who never took a snap there prior to last spring. Currently, they also have rookie center J.C. Hassenauer, who played for the Birmingham Iron earlier this year. Patrick Morris, a 2018 undrafted free agent, was on the practice squad last year.
Added Pouncey on the subject of Finney while speaking to reporters this past week during OTAs, “you guys know, every time he gets into the game, he plays a hell of a game. He’s a smart player, he’s strong, and he always does the job the right way, and we appreciate that”.
The two have actually been working side-by-side once again recently, as right guard David DeCastro has missed some practice time after his wife gave birth. That was what prompted a reporter to ask about Finney, who is entering the final year before he can become an unrestricted free agent.
He is currently scheduled to play under a second-round tender this year, which he has already signed, which pays him about $3 million per season. While he is certainly appreciative of that value, he also understands what a starting job, and an open market, might represent a year from now.
But “that’s down the pike”, Finney said of that. “I’m not focused on that. I’m focused on the season, on right now. I want to do my job and improve every day and help this team get better. Whatever will be will be”