Louisville running back Jeremy Wright had another season of eligibility. He entered the 2013 NFL Draft anyway, and went undrafted.
He wasn't even a priority undrafted free agent signee. He was invited to the Giants' minicamp this spring, stayed for two sessions and was released. The Steelers waived kicker Daniel Hrapmann Friday, and signed Wright, a star in the Cardinals' 33-23 win over the University of Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
So why did he leave Louisville early? Academic trouble, or internal battles are the convenient answers. Not everyone just breezes through college or gets what they feel to be a fair shake on their respective teams. However, Wright graduated in December, and with fellow RB Senorise Perry recovering from a torn ACL, it seems like Wright would have had the starting role at least through spring practice.
Whatever happened, the situation feels like what happened with former Steelers RB John Clay, who left Wisconsin early only to go undrafted. A big part of Clay's decision to leave had to be influenced by the presence of Broncos' second round pick, Montee Ball, who ended up setting an NCAA record with 77 rushing touchdowns in his career.
The fact he's shown in this picture on crutches with a knee immobilizer may have had something to do with the Giants' decision to turn him loose.
The main thing here, much like it was with the signing of WR Tyler Shaw, is his return stats. He had 913 return yards, including a touchdown his freshman and sophomore seasons, but only had six kick returns his junior year. He said he had contact with the Falcons, Chargers, Jets, Buccaneers, Seahawks and 49ers before the draft.
Considering how deep the Steelers are at running backs (in salary, if not ability), it seems Wright was brought in to get a shot in the return game, and perhaps be this year's Jason Ford - an undrafted player brought in during training camp in order to carry the ball at the end of the final two preseason games so the guys who would be making the team wouldn't have to.
DuJuan Harris was another one of those running backs. The Steelers cut him, and Harris ended up with the Packers, where he rushed for 4.6 yards a carry in two starts.
Ultimately, the Steelers signed him, and the timing of his signing raises an eyebrow - Isaac Redman and Le'Veon Bell were both injured just hours before the move was made. However, both were back at practice the following day, so perhaps Wright's signing was nothing more than just bringing in some competition for the return game, which was not at all impressive in the Steelers' loss to the Giants in their first preseason game.
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