Tha Sports Junkies 101

Could Fitzgerald Toussaint be the Running Back of the Future for the Steelers?

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Steelers re-sign Fitzgerald Toussaint with exclusive rights deal

The Pittsburgh Steelers secured depth at the running back position by signing Fitzgerald Toussaint to an exclusive rights deal. The way these kinds of deals work is by the team having the chance to sign these players first before they get to test free agency. The price tag of these players varies, but for the Steelers this offseason it will either cost them $615,000 or $540,000 depending on the player. The Steelers have already signed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton to this exclusive rights deal, and Fitzgerald Toussaint became the second player to get re-signed on January 31st.

This kid from Youngstown, Ohio will have a chance to prove he deserves to be in the NFL. Toussaint has been a running back who can carry the load since high school. He was a three-time all-conference selection in his career, as he carried 455 times for 4,690 yards with 65 touchdowns during his career. That was not all he was known for, as Toussaint was named Division III all-state his senior year, the 2008 Trumbull County Player of the Year, was named Ohio Division III Co-Offensive Player of the Year and the Youngstown Vindicator Offensive Player of the Year his senior season, was named all-Ohio first team during his senior year, and also lettered in track and field.

Toussiant continued to carry the load for the Michigan Wolverines. That career saw a four-year letterman at Michigan who appeared in 40 games with 31 starts (2009-13), totaled 2,290 yards on 510 carries with 28 rushing touchdowns. His senior year numbers earned him Big Ten honorable mention honors as he rushed for a career-high 1,041 yards.

In the 2015 playoffs, Toussaint got his first playoff start against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round after Le’Veon Bell and Deangelo Williams both were out due to injury. His performance gave him one of only four of its kind in Steelers running back history, by recording 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in a single postseason game. He served as the third running back on the depth chart behind two of the game’s best in Bell and Williams.

In 2017, Fitzgerald Toussaint will be entering his 4th season in the NFL. With Le’Veon Bell possibly on the verge of receiving the franchise tag, and Deangelo Williams set to be an unrestricted free agent, the Steelers have entrusted the backup role to Toussaint swiftly. The chances of Toussaint overtaking Bell as the team’s starting running back are about as good as a coach’s playbook getting stolen the week before the Super Bowl. But if Toussaint can find a way to prove himself in his time on the field and in practice, he can very well be the running back of the future for the Steelers.

Statistics referenced via Pittsburgh Steelers 2016/2017 Player Bios