Tomlin Optimistic Conner, Foster Will Play Thursday

Hear all of Tomlin's press conference as he previews Browns game

Josh Rowntree
November 11, 2019 - 1:36 pm
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner (30) warms up before playing the Los Angeles Rams at Heinz Field.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers run game could get a pair of much needed returns Thursday night when the team travels to Cleveland. 

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Monday that running back James Conner and guard Ramon Foster will have a chance to play Thursday night. 

“If we had worked today, James Conner would have been a full participant,” Tomlin said. “But that’s a hypothetical work day. There’s some angst there. We feel comfortable about his ability to be available to us, as we do Ramon Foster’s. But we have to get through the week in that regard.”

Conner injured his shoulder at the end of Pittsburgh’s 27-14 win over the Dolphins on October 28. In that same game, Foster suffered a concussion. 

The injury news was not as good for others. 

“Guy’s we’re less optimistic about are (fullback) Rosie Nix and (running back Benny Snell,” Tomlin said. “Those guys are working, but they’re not positioned in the ways that James Conner and Ramon Foster are to participate this week.”

Snell suffered a knee injury against Miami and Nix has missed six games overall this season with a knee issue.

In Sunday’s 17-12 win over the Rams, wides receiver Ryan Switzer experienced a back injury, while outside linebackers Ola Adeniyi and Anthony Chickillo had hip and rib injuries, respectively.

“On a short week, I have yet to know what that mens for those guys,” Tomlin said. “They have yet to be evaluated this morning, so maybe we’ll have some more information for you.

“There won’t be a lot of opportunities during the course of the week for those guys to work into the rotation or show their availability, just simply buy the way we have to practice or the structure in which we work in a week like this.”

The Steelers have been thin at the running back position with the injuries to Conner and Snell, not to mention backup Jaylen Samuels’ missed time with a knee injury last month. 

Now, it seems, the depth of the outside linebacker position could be tested, with Adeniyi and Chickillo experiencing injuries. Ultimately, the short week will be the biggest hindrance for Pittsburgh’s injured players.  

“We’ll just simply play it by ear and do the best we can in terms of making judgments,” Tomlin said. “Not only in terms of their health and capabilities, but also the mix of people in regards to some of those things.” 

Hear all of Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s press conference below.