The Moore, The Merrier

After leaving a crowded backfield in Minnesota to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in free agency, one would think running back Mewelde Moore might have been a little disappointed when his new team selected Rashard Mendenhall in the first round of last month's draft.

But Moore says disappointment isn't in his dictionary.

"Not at all. Have you looked at our schedule lately?" Moore said with a laugh. "We need all hands on deck. We need all our guys to be ready to roll come opening day. We're all just building our camaraderie because we know that when the time comes, we've all got to be able to go out and do our job. I know what my job is, and as my role increases, I have to be ready for that as well."

With the addition of Moore and Mendenhall this offseason, the Steelers' backfield went from paper-thin behind starter Willie Parker, to perhaps one of the deepest in the NFL.

"It's one of those things where you just go and fit in," said Moore, who signed a three-year deal with the Steelers. "I just want to make sure I understand what the philosophy is and what the coaches want me to do. And the players have embraced me. It's all about going in and doing your job. You do that and you fit right in."

While much of the focus has been on the addition of Mendenhall, the 23rd pick in the draft, Moore brings a lot to the table himself.

A fourth-round draft pick of the Vikings in 2004, Moore has played in 54 career games, including 11 starts. He has rushed for 1,285 career yards on 264 attempts and also made 116 receptions for another 1,093 yards.

Oh, and the former Tulane star returns punts as well, averaging over 10 yards per attempt doing so in his career.

Despite the Steelers' now crowded backfield – which also includes holdovers Najeh Daveport, Carey Davis and Gary Russell, Moore feels he'll be able to carve out a niche for himself, just as he did in Minnesota, where he also shared time with a number of talented running backs.

"It's really important to understand niches," Moore said this week as the Steelers resumed their offseason voluntary coaching sessions. "Me being able to catch the ball – and thank God he blessed me with good hands – I just want to go out there and use them. Niches are good. If people give you niches, at least you know you have a shot."

And that's all Moore ever wanted.

When he became a free agent this offseason, his first thought was to join the Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin, whom he knew from when Tomlin was Minnesota's defensive coordinator in 2006.

"The head coach has a lot to do with me signing here. Coach T is an awesome coach," Moore said. "I knew him from back in Minnesota and I knew it was just a matter of time before he got the opportunity. When my contract was up, Coach T knows what I'm capable of. The sky is the limit for Coach T. I definitely want to be a part of everything he's going to do."

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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