By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Steelers are getting thin at the running back position. With Le’veon Bell doing who knows what, and with James Conner out with a leg injury, Pittsburgh finds itself in need of reinforcements.
Enter Ralph Webb.
Yes, the very same Ralph Webb who put his stamp on Patriots (preseason) history with a performance for the ages this past August will be suiting up this week on the Steelers’ practice squad. And given their current situation, he just may find himself in game action at some point.
Webb, 24, signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent this past May, following a highly productive career at Vanderbilt. In his preseason debut against the Redskins, he rushed for two touchdowns and successfully converted a pair of two-point conversions — accounting for 16 points. In an instant, he joined Zach Sudfeld and Austin Carr in the (imaginary) Patriots Preseason Hall of Fame. Fans in New England were hopeful that Bill Belichick had found another diamond in the rough.
But Webb was given just five carries in Week 2 of the preseason before getting none at all in Week 3. He played in the final preseason game before getting cut.
He remained with the Patriots’ practice squad for a month before getting released, and the Buccaneers signed him to their practice squad in mid-November before releasing him this week — thus making him available for running back-needy Pittsburgh.
The Steelers host the Patriots in two weeks. Pittsburgh currently has Jaylen Samuels, (former Patriot/somehow-still-kicking-in-the-NFL) Stevan Ridley, and Trey Edmunds (promoted from the practice squad Tuesday) as healthy running backs entering Sunday’s game in Oakland. The extent of Conner’s injury is not yet clear, but he’ll be missing at least one week.