Entering his second season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Benny Snell doesn’t look the same.
In three seasons Snell recorded 3,873 yards and 48 rushing touchdowns, more than any other running back to ever play for the University of Kentucky. He made plays by overpowering opponents at around 225 pounds. He’s still physical, but now he only weighs 212 pounds.
“The Steelers gave me a plan. I stuck to it and I feel like it’ll help me a ton going into this year with my lateral quickness, my speed, me taking care of my body, the hits I can take, etcetera,” he told reporters this week.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Steelers, he played a significant role for Pittsburgh as a rookie after injuries sidelined James Conner and Jaylen Samuels. He was two yards shy of breaking the 100-yard threshold in a victory over the Bengals and scored a touchdown after gaining 91 yards in the season finale against the Ravens, ultimately finishing his rookie campaign with 426 yards and two touchdowns on 108 carries (3.9 ypc.). That experience taught Snell a lot about what it takes to be successful in the NFL.
“It’s a lot of the little things that you gotta take care of, whether it’s film, whether it’s workouts, whether it’s knowing what you gotta do for what play. I feel like it’s the little things that will make it all come into place to take a bigger part (in the offense).”
Upon the running backs’ return from injury and the addition Anthony McFarland Jr., carving out carries will be more difficult for Benny. To make matters worse, coronavirus canceled all preseason games, eliminating a handful of opportunities to show coaches how he improved from year one to year two.
“You don’t get to get those live looks that you would normally get in different circumstances. Getting a lot of fast balls, getting a lot of change of the calls, a lot of things come into play, but not being bale to see that live look often is pretty different, so I try to make the most when I’m out there,” he said.
“We still have a whole season ahead of us. That’s my opportunity. That’s my chance.”
When he gets his chance, Pittsburgh Steeler fans will get to see more Benny Snell football, albeit a little lighter version.
“I was brought here to play football and that’s what I love doing. I’m going to play my football the best the I can whenever I’m out there.“