USA Today

LATROBE, Pennsylvania -- Master Teague knew it wasn't going to be easy. After not being selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, the former Ohio State running back began the journey of trying to find his first NFL home. After initially signing with the Bears, Teague's journey has since taken him to Pittsburgh as he looks to find a spot on either the Steelers' 53-man roster or the practice squad. 

Signed by the Steelers earlier this month following an injury to Jeremy McNichols, Teague enjoyed a solid NFL debut during Pittsburgh's preseason opener. He gained 31 yards on six carries that included a pair of first-down runs on the Steelers' second-to-last possession. Teague's play down the stretch helped the Steelers pull out a 32-25 win over the visiting Seahawks

"I'm blessed to be out there," Teague told CBS Sports from training camp. "Just looking to improve day-by-day and see what more I can do to contribute to the team. It's been a blessing, for sure."

A four-star recruit coming out of high school, Teague chose to play college football at Ohio State for then-head coach Urban Meyer. As a redshirt freshman, Teague scored four touchdowns while averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry under first-year head coach Ryan Day. He scored a career-high eight touchdowns while helping the Buckeyes clinch a berth in the College Football Playoff. 

"North and south runner, up the gut and getting those extra yards," Teague said of his rushing style. "Someone that can give hits and take them, because I know defenders are definitely are going to try to give them out as well. Being able to absorb those and bounce off and keep going."  

While successful, Teague did face some challenges during his years in Columbus. He was never a feature back, sharing time with Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins in 2019 and 49ers running back Trey Sermon in 2020. Last season, Teague then fell behind then-freshman back TreVeyon Henderson on the depth chart last year while finishing third on the team in carries and in rushing yards. While his playing opportunities were limited, Teague continued to produce, scoring four touchdowns last fall while averaging 5.3 yards per carry. 

Teague's lack of exclusivity in college likely contributed to him not hearing his name called in the draft. It did, however, help prepare him for his current challenge of competing for a roster spot. While it is competition, Teague feels that the Steelers' running backs room -- a room that includes Najee Harris, veterans Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland and fellow newcomer Jaylen Warren -- is focused on helping each each other become the best versions of themselves. 

"Everybody has their different traits and abilities," Teague said of the Steelers' running back room. "We want to be a well-rounded group. It's good competition, going in every day, competing and wanting to get better and be the best unit we can."

Teague, who wears No. 33 because of his faith in Christ, has an uphill battle as far as making the Steelers' 53-man roster, given how well Warren has looked in camp to this point. But regardless of what happens, Teague is fortunate for the opportunity as he continues to navigate through the life of an undrafted rookie. 

"I knew this would be the situation for me, leaving college," Teague said. "It's part of the journey, and I'm glad I'm here now. … I appreciate the journey, and just looking forward to what I can do." 

Teague is also keeping an eye on his former teammates in Columbus, who open their 2022 season against Notre Dame on Sept. 10. The reigning Rose Bowl champions enter the year as the nation's second-ranked team, behind Alabama and ahead of defending national champion Georgia. 

"I'm always going to go for the Buckeyes," he said. "I feel like they're going to be great this year. Looking forward to seeing what they do."