Tag Archives: pittsburgh steelers

Matthews, Mike

Card: Sage 2016
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

At 6’2″, 290, Texas A&M Center Mike Matthews was simply just not big enough to be considered one of the top centers in the 2016 NFL Draft. Scouts loved his tenacity, bloodlines (son of Bruce Matthews and brother of Jake Matthews), technique, and football IQ. He was expected to be a free agent- sign and stash/ long term project, to see what a team could develop out of him with a few years in the weight room.

Mike signed with the Cleveland Browns after the draft, and was listed as the 3rd center on the team behind Cam Ewing and Garth Gerhart. He was a late cut in 2016, but in February 2017 Mike signed with Pittsburgh- unfortunately an injury late in training camp ended his season. Mike kept at it however, and in May of 2018, he signed with the Miami Dolphins who were looking for depth on the offensive line.

Zabransky, Jared

Card: Playoff Contenders 2007
Acquired: 2016, EBay

Jared Zabransky was a dual threat quarterback for Boise State, and helped bring the program national respect with their thrilling victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.  Over 4 years, Zabransky was 610/980 for 8256 yards, 58 TDs to 37 interceptions. He also contributed 863 yards and 31 TDs on the ground.

Scouts didn’t really think that Zabransky was going to fit in the NFL as a quarterback. In fact his situation graded out similar to Eric Crouch. Sure he was a talented athlete, but Jared’s arm strength and passing mechanics concerned teams. Certainly however Zabransky made up for it in intangibles: Leadership and always finding a way to win. He went unselected in the 2007 NFL draft.  Afterwards he signed with the Houston Texans, briefly appearing on their practice squad. He’d join the Steelers in 2008 but be cut before the regular season.

Jared wanted to keep playing QB so he went to the CFL, signing with the Edmonton Eskimos, seeing primarily backup and mopup duty over his career from 2009-2011. His best game came perhaps in 2010 for the Esks when Jared passed for 188 yards on 16 of 23 and 2 touchdowns.

As of 2016 he resides in The Woodlands, Texas, and is the director of sales of oil and gas for an OEM of oil drilling equipment.

I remember when the Texans signed Jared. The team had just jettisoned David Carr and handed the keys over to Matt Schaub. Sage Rosenfels had the inside track for second string QB, while Zabransky looked to nab the Practice Squad QB or the 3rd string spot. The Texans in the end elected not to carry 3 QBs however, and Zabransky was disappointingly cut.

Shell III, Rushel

Card: Panini Contenders 2017
Acquired: 2017, Box Breaker

After a prolific high school career as a runningback, Rushel Shell III, played a year with Pitt in 2013. As a true Freshman he ran for 641 yards on 141 carries and  4 touchdowns. He transferred to West Virginia and piled up  450 carries for 2,010 yards and 20 touchdowns in 35 games. He also displayed a knack for catching the ball out of the backfield with 58 career receptions. Shell was considered undersized (5’10”, 227) for the rigors of the NFL, and was not selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. He’d sign as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers, eager to show off his physical running style. He went through minicamp, but was oft-injured, and was cut after about 6 weeks. Currently he’s a free agent.