The Pittsburgh Steelers have added a new running back to their roster ahead of the second week of training camp. The team has signed John Lovett, who tallied nearly 500 total yards for the XFL's Vegas Vipers, coached this past season by Steelers great Rod Woodson.
The signing corresponds with fellow running back Alfonzo Graham announcing that he will miss the entire season after tearing his labrum during last Saturday's practice.
Lovett spent the majority of his college career at Memphis, where he rushed for 1,803 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards-per-carry. In 2021, his only season at Penn State, he rushed for 177 yards on 52 carries for a 3.4 yards-per-carry average. Lovett had four 100-yard rushing performances in college that included a career-high 128 yards in a late-season win over Texas Tech back in 2018.
Lovett's NFL career has been brief up to this point. He signed with the Carolina Panthers after going undrafted last spring. He was released before final cuts despite leading the team in rushing and receiving yards during the preseason (H/T Chris Adamski of the Tribune-Review).
Lovett's catching ability may have been one of the things that compelled the Steelers to sign him. He made several big plays as a pass-catcher for the Vipers while often turning short routes into sizable gains. Lovett also displayed impressive agility and strength while often making the first defender miss.
Lovett will join a Steelers backfield that is led by Najee Harris and backups Jaylen Warren and Anthony McFarland. Harris, a former first-round pick, rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. An undrafted rookie last year, Warren is coming off of an impressive rookie season that saw him play an integral role in Pittsburgh going 7-2 over its final nine games.
McFarland, who missed significant time over the past two years with injuries, had an impressive opening week of training camp. He made several big plays while showcasing the play-making ability that led to the Steelers to select him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft.