At the time of this post, the Pittsburgh Steelers had still yet to re-sign unrestricted free agent running back Benny Snell Jr. Additionally, there’s no signs that they will. Assuming Snell is not ultimately brought back for a fifth season, the Steelers could have an opening for a third running back on their depth chart behind Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Battling for that supposed open running back spot would likely be Master Teague III and with good reason.
Teague, who played college football at Ohio State, went undrafted in 2022 and he signed with the Chicago Bears last May. That stay with the Bears didn’t last long, however, as they waived him just three days later ahead of the team’s rookie minicamp. The former Buckeye then had to wait until early August to find a new NFL home and it was with the Steelers after their training camp had gotten underway.
While Teague was able to show flashes in training camp, an ankle injury that he sustained during a practice following the team’s preseason opener resulted in him being waived/injured. He cleared waivers and reverted to the Steelers Reserve/Injured list until he was waived again at the end of August with an injury settlement.
Teague must have impressed enough during training camp as the Steelers signed him to their practice squad in late November. Even so, the team released him from the practice squad after just two weeks, presumably because they needed a spot for another player at a different position. After ending the regular season unsigned, the Steelers inked Teague to a Reserve/Future contract in January and he’s been on the team’s offseason roster ever since.
In the one preseason game that Teague appeared in with the Steelers last August, he played 10 total offensive snaps on his way to registering 31 yards on six carries. He didn’t, however, see any playing time on special teams during that preseason tilt against the Seattle Seahawks and that’s perhaps the most concerning thing related to him appearing in that contest.
This year during training camp, Teague will need to show he can play on special teams if he wants a legitimate shot at making the Steelers’ 53-man roster as a backup running back. After all, that’s what kept Snell on the Steelers’ 53-man roster for four seasons. He already knows, however, that will be important this offseason as he said as much last year during training camp.
“Of course, most important is special teams,” Teague said last August. “So, I’ve just been talking with coach Danny [Smith] and he’s been getting me up to speed with everything. So, I’m just feeling good, you know? Just go out here and lay it all on the line.”
While Teague did play some on special teams during his college career at Ohio State, most of those snaps came during the 2018 season. He did register four total special teams tackles that season. In summation, playing special teams isn’t a foreign concept to him. Running the football isn’t, either, as Teague rushed for 1,764 yards and 17 touchdowns on 323 total carries in three seasons at Ohio State. He had 16 runs of 20 yards or longer during his college career as well.
Obviously, Teague will need to stay healthy throughout the summer as well, and that’s something that might be a bit of a chore for him moving forward. One previous injury he had to overcome during college was to his Achilles tendon and that happened in the spring of 2020. Injury history aside, Teague still played in 31 games for the Buckeyes between 2018-21 and started six times, all during the 2020 season. All told, it seems as though Teague missed 18 games in his four seasons at Ohio State.
This weekend, Teague is one of just five first-year players participating in the Steelers’ annual rookie minicamp. He’s also one of just four running backs participating in the practices as well. Assuming he remains on the roster past this weekend, Teague figures to have a great chance of remaining under contract the remainder of the offseason. Once training camp gets underway, and assuming he’s still on the roster at that point, a golden opportunity figures to await Teague at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.