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Steelers News: Setting expectations for new Pittsburgh RB Stevan Ridley

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ newest addition will have to “jump on a moving train” as Mike Tomlin puts it.

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

When it was announced James Conner was headed to Injured Reserve after hurting his knee in Week 15 vs. the Patriots, most assumed one of the usual cast of characters would fill his spot on the active roster.

DeAngelo Williams

Knile Davis

Terrell Watson

Someone familiar with the Steelers’ system would seem to be the logical choice. So, when it was announced the team signed free-agent Stevan Ridley to fill the position, there was a lot of shock.

Fans wondered why Ridley was chosen, and not someone like the aforementioned players. I don’t have the answer, but what I do know is the Steelers don’t have high expectations for Ridley, or at least that’s the hope.

What are Ridley’s expectations? Depth.

The team will lean on Le’Veon Bell like they have for his entire career, and use Fitzgerald Toussaint to spell him when he needs a breather. Where does Ridley fit into the equation? Only on the special occasion, especially early.

Let me put it this way — If the Steelers need to rely on Ridley, something extremely bad has taken place on the football field. I would almost suggest something catastrophic, in the football sense, has gone down for Ridley to get significant playing time in a game.

With that said, the Steelers obviously like the skill set that Ridley, now 29-years-old, brings to the team, even from a depth perspective.

Time to check in on the Steelers news outside the walls of BTSC:

After being cut six times over the past four years with just 15 NFL games to show for it, Stevan Ridley was beginning to accept his career was over.

“Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I didn't,” the running back said from the Steelers locker room the day after he signed with the team.

“You sit at home for 15-16 weeks, it's kind of tough,” Ridley said. “But my agent stayed on me. I stayed running and tried to keep a positive mindset. The call (from a team) always comes when it's very unexpected. I didn't see it coming. But I'll take it. I'll come in here and adjust and try to contribute whichever way the coaches want me to contribute.”

Cam Heyward said he “obviously” cared about receiving Pro Bowl recognition. Did it bother the Steelers' defensive captain that he wasn't named when the rosters were announced Tuesday?

“Do I need to answer that?” Heyward said. “Of course. But it's not my choice. Whatever, you've got to keep playing.”

Heyward anchors the NFL's No. 8-ranked run defense, and he has 21 quarterback hurries. Heyward is tied for 10th in the NFL among all players in sacks with 10; he's fifth among AFC players who are listed as defensive ends.

In what seems like a near weekly occurrence, the Houston Texans designated three four more players for Injured Reserve this afternoon, officially ending the 2017 season for Tom Savage, Nick Martin, and MyCole Pruitt, and D.J. Reader.

Sending Savage and Martin to IR is a no-brainer. The negligible benefit of allowing either of them to play again this year—assuming one or both could even be cleared to do so in the next week and a half—is far outweighed by the risks and potential negatives of doing so. Here’s hoping all three players get healthy or, in Savage’s case (given the multiple concussions he’s already suffered in his brief career), take a long, hard look at whether suiting up again at all is the best decision for him and his family.