Help on the Clay?
By Jason Marcum
January 1, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back John Clay (38) turns the ball upfield while pursued by Cleveland Browns free safety Mike Adams (20) at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Pittsburgh won the game 16-9. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
With the Bengals without Bernard Scott for the rest of the season and Brian Leonard sidelined with a rib injury, the team has only Cedric Peerman behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis at runningback. Unless the team is planning on giving FB Chris Pressley more carries, the team needs to bring in another back, and help may just be on the way in the form of John Clay, who the Bengals brought in for a workout on Monday.
Clay is in just his second NFL season after a very productive career at the University of Wisconsin. He entered the 2010 collegiate season on the preseason watch lists for the Doak Walker Award, the Walter Camp Award, and the Maxwell Award, as well as the illustrious Heisman Trophy. After being one of the most productive backs in the country for much of his junior year, he suffered an MCL injury which sidelined him the last three 2010 regular season games. At the time of the injury, he was at worst a candidate to be in New York as a finalist for the Heisman, and was looking at being between 3rd-5th round NFL Draft pick. He finished with 1,012 rushing yards and 14 rushing TDs before declaring for the NFL Draft, though he wound up going undrafted.
Clay was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent and eventually made it onto the practice squad. In December of 2011, he was added to the team’s active roster and scored his first TD on his first NFL carry. He finished 2011 with 41 rushing yards on 10 carries (4.1 avg) and one TD.
Clay entered 2012 hoping to compete for a post in the depleted Steelers backfield, but once the team realized Rashard Mendenhall would play this year, he became expendable and was later waived. This could be nothing more than trying to get some insider secrets on Clay’s former Steeler teammates with the two teams playing on Sunday, though don’t be surprised if the Bengals sign him for at least one week to see what the former Badger has to offer.
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