Steelers searching for return man

Tim Dwight, who visited Pittsburgh on Tuesday, is now a New York Jet. But he wasn't the first, nor will he be the last, skilled return man to visit the South Side Complex. The Steelers have already worked out one of the speed demons available in April's NFL draft.

T.J. Rushing has already held a workout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and today he is joined by Stanford outside linebacker and good friend Jon Alston in working out for the Dallas Cowboys. The cornerback/kick returner prospect has other scheduled workouts upcoming, including the New England Patriots on March 30 and the St. Louis Rams on April 3.

Cornerback/kick returner T.J. Rushing has helped Stanford with a number of memorable performances on The Farm, but the senior last week at Stanford's Pro Day put forth a showing that helped himself. An afterthought for many analysts and scouts for the upcoming NFL Draft, Rushing performed in front of representatives from most of the league impressively.

Rushing ran the fastest 40 of the day among Stanford's seniors, with a 4.34 despite rainy conditions that made for slick grass and a number of slow times. He also recorded a 40" vertical jump and - most impressive of all - put up 20 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press.

"Everybody had me billed as a guy not strong enough and not fast enough," Rushing comments. "Any questions about speed and strength were answered [at Pro Day], even though the surface conditions were not what I wanted and I didn't run as fast as I wanted."

Not invited to the NFL Combines in Indianapolis (Ind.), Rushing had his first real opportunity to test and perform drills in front of an audience of NFL scouts last Wednesday. Believe it or not, he had been listed with "4.55" speed in the publications and data that circulates among scouts and general managers. Rushing rewrote that notion at Pro Day and now has scouts talking about his speed.

The other issue for Rushing has been his size, not among the biggest of cornerbacks at 5'9". But he says that he is not far from the size of many at his position in the NFL. Moreover, his leaping ability helps erase further concerns where size could be an issue.

"We've looked, and the average corner throughout the league is 5'9.75"," Rushing states. "And I think I answered that with my vertical. Some people were wondering if at my size I would get beat on the deep ball. If I can go up and bat it down, then there is no issue."

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