During this offseason, former Pitt running back LaRod Stephens-Howling decided to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent after spending the first few years of his career with the Arizona Cardinals. Stephens-Howling made it back to his hometown of Johnstown recently and talked about the Steelers' plans for him:
And what are the possible plans for fitting the 5-foot-7, 185-pounder into the Steelers offense?
"Before I even signed, (the Steelers) said I’d be worked in as a third-down back and special teams in the kick-return game," Stephens-Howling said. "Pretty much the role I’m in now. I just gotta go into camp and work to keep that role."
That's really no surprise. Stephens-Howling doesn't quite have the ideal size to be an every down back and he really excels in a role where he can come in and provide a change of pace. Plus, at only 3.2 yards per carry over his career, he hasn't really been productive enough to be an every down back. Still, as a running back, Steelers' fans should be thrilled that in over 180 carries spread out over four years, he's never once fumbled a carry.
And the kick returning? That's another great aspect of his game. Over his career, he's returned 163 kickoffs and has three touchdowns as a return man. As I wrote before, he's actually been doing less of that, but has thrived as a returner in the past.
We'll have to see how he fits in with the Steelers this season, but it's almost a certainty that he contributes a good bit as a backup running back and kick returner.