As we’ve done in previous years, we’re taking a look at those Pittsburgh Steelers under futures contracts for the 2020 offseason. We’ll focus this on the future players who spent no or limited time on the team during 2019. Taken a bit of a break but following up with a new futures report today.
John Keenoy/C Western Michigan – 6’2/7 299
I’m gonna level with you guys. Of all the players on the 90 man roster, Keenoy probably would’ve been the hardest for me to recall. Here are all the things I knew about him before writing this futures’ report.
1. His name is John Keenoy.
2. He is a Pittsburgh Steeler.
That’s about it.
So let’s all learn a little more.
A three-star recruit out of Kentwood, Michigan, he stayed local and committed to WMU. It didn’t take him long to crack the starting lineup and once he did, he never left. Keenoy started as a true freshman, his first one coming at Michigan State (Western Michigan would lose 37-24) and save for missing one game with injury in 2017, started every other game. In total, he appeared in a whopping 50 games during his college career.
The Broncos never had a losing record with him on the team, highlighted by a 13-1 2016 season led by the row-your-boat PJ Fleck, their only loss a one-score defeat versus heavy favorited Wisconsin.
Keenoy graduated with a degree in business before testing NFL waters. Not invited to the Combine, his Pro Day workout was below average. A 5.31 40, 25 inch vertical, and 23 reps on the bar. There was an outside shot he’d get drafted but he ultimately went unpicked, signed by the Minnesota Vikings as a UDFA.
He was released at final cutdowns and wasn’t immediately brought back to the practice squad. But he earned a second look when center Brett Jones was placed on IR; Keenoy was signed to take his place on the ten man taxi group. Once Jones was cleared to practice on January 1st, Keenoy was promptly released.
Like so many we’ve profiled before him, the XFL was his next stop, latching on with the Dallas Renegades. Pittsburgh scooped him up after the league folded amid the coronavirus pandemic.
That’s where we sit today. Keenoy has plenty of college experience to lean on though size and athleticism are concerns. It’s difficult to see any path to the 53 man roster without injury – and likely multiple of them – but he has two things going for him. One is the expansion of the practice squad to 12 spots. More opportunities to stick around. The other is the expanding gameday roster. It’s up from 46 to 48 so long as one of those two extra players are an offensive linemen. With teams also being able to expand their active roster from 53 to 55 via two practice squad players, and Keenoy’s valuable skillset, there’s a chance he could receive a call-up for backup snapper duty, just as Patrick Morris did last year, with the help of those exceptions/exemptions.
He’ll also get to play on a team with probably more active Western Michigan alum than any other. He’ll join fellow offensive linemen Chukwuma Okorafor and linebacker Robert Spillane so he’ll have some familiar faces once he reports to training camp.