Steelers News

Benny Snell Jr. ‘Not Surprised’ By Success Off The Bench, Admits ‘It Was Tough’ Not Playing

If somebody told you at the start of the regular season that the Pittsburgh Steelers would have their most complete day running the ball in a game in which both running backs Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren hardly played or played not at all, you would probably laugh in that person’s face.

Well, that person is somehow having a laugh now, though perhaps not the last one, as there are still six games to go and I certainly hope that they can continue to top Monday night’s game with their full complement of runners available. But be that as it may, credit must be given to those who stepped up like Benny Snell Jr., the veteran back who did exactly what he knew he was capable of.

“It felt good. Not surprised,” the fourth-year man said about getting his first offensive playing time of the year and performing well when given the opportunity, via Teresa Varley at the team’s website. “I was ready whenever the time was called. I was thankful for the opportunity.”

With Warren missing the game due to injury and Harris suffering an oblique injury by the end of the first half, it was up to Snell and practice squad back Anthony McFarland Jr. to tote the ball for most of the game. Snell rushed for 62 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 12 carries, his best bit of running since 2020.

“It was fun having that feeling back again, being engaged and having energy,” he said, admitting that it had been a struggle to not have the opportunity to play on offense. “It was tough,” he said, having only played just three offensive snaps prior to Monday’s game, and that only in the previous week after Warren got injured, without touching the ball.

A fourth-round pick out of Kentucky in 2019, Snell recorded over 100 touches in each of his first two seasons. He saw his workload drastically decline last year with the drafting of Harris in the first round, who led the NFL in touches and in snaps by a running back. He lost the number two job to Warren this year, a rookie college free agent.

Still, he has dressed for every game and played an active role on special teams, a responsibility that he does not diminish, even if he ultimately wants to do what he was drafted to do, which is to tote the rock. That’s Benny Snell Football.

“I know what I am capable of. It’s a mental game. I am coming in every day and staying on top of everything,” he said. “I was locked in and ready. It shows how ready I was. It’s just a mental thing, going over film, a lot of mental reps from watching practice, seeing what cut I would make, what read, a lot of that.”

There’s a good chance that he’ll have a role on offense again next week with Harris’ status unclear. It does appear that Warren will be back, but after showing that he can contribute, it’s more likely he may see some snaps here and there anyway.

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