Last year, the Pittsburgh Steelers were gobbling up former XFL players who suddenly found themselves on the street after the league folded. No team signed more of those guys than Pittsburgh. Though I don’t have hard data on this number, it feels like the Steelers this year are among the leaders in signing first-year NFL players who went back to school and worked out at their Pro Days.
That’s become a common theme this draft season: Players who entered the 2020 draft but find themselves without a team. Losing out on their Pro Day workouts last year due to the pandemic, schools have invited them for this year’s session. And teams, like the Steelers, are taking notice. So far, they’ve signed four such guys: WR Tyler Simmons, WR Matthew Sexton, LB Jamir Jones, and LB Jarvis Miller.
Miller, who worked out at UMass’ recent Pro Day, had an exclusive interview with Patch in Connecticut and explained his path to Pittsburgh.
“I told my agent to just do it,” he told Tim Jensen. “I was in Pittsburgh two or three days later to sign. I checked out the facility, met the strength coach and the team doctor. It’s very cool to be with such a prestigious organization. I played two games at Heinz Field in college against Pittsburgh.”
We don’t have all his Pro Day data, but Miller told the Patch he ran a sub-4.5 during his recent workout. That caught the attention of the Steelers, who were in attendance that day.
Miller’s football career began at Penn State, before transferring to UMass his graduate season. There, he moved from outside to inside linebacker and put up good numbers: 60 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, and a sack in 12 games. It’s unclear if the team plans to play him off-ball or on the EDGE. As things stand today, he’d have a better chance making the team as an outside linebacker, where the Steelers’ depth is perilously thin.
Back in the NFL, he’ll hope to stick through the summer and make it to training camp. From there, he can restart his professional career.
“I’m the first one from my area to do this, and I am truly humbled and blessed to be in this situation. I hope to be a role model for young kids to pursue their dreams,” Miller said.