2017 NFL Draft

Steelers sign WVU's Johnson after impressive Pro Day workout

Steelers sign WVU's Johnson after impressive Pro Day workout

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
The Pittsburgh Steelers were well represented at Friday's West Virginia Pro Day. Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert attended the workout. Most assumed they were there to scout pass rusher Bruce Irvin, linebacker Najae Goode or any number of the Mountaineer prospects hoping to hear their name called out next April.

Instead, the powerful duo were so overcome by a strong workout put forth by a former Mountaineer that they signed him.

Virtually all of the hype during Pro Day workouts is centered around prospects from the current draft class. Fullback Will Johnson, who used up his collegiate eligibility in 2011 but wasn't drafted, returned to the West Virginia University campus Friday to try one more time to impress scouts. This type of thing happens all the time. When I attended the University of Washington Pro Day March 8, there were several former Huskies from previous graduating classes hoping to impress the scouts on hand. A few members of the media there asked me if I'd ever seen a prospect get signed after one of these workouts. I wasn't able to recall one off the top of my head. The Steelers solved that problem by signing former WVU tight end Will Johnson to a deal Monday, according to a report from Geoff Coyle of WVillustrated.com, a fan site focused on West Virginia University athletics.

Johnson, a 6-2, 240 pound tight end for the Mountaineers from 2007-2010, worked out as a tight end and running back on Monday. He was unofficially clocked at 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash and led all athletes tested with 30 repetitions of 225 pounds.

The Steelers' contingent thought enough of Johnson's workout to speak to him immediately after the Pro Day ended.

"When I got done running my routes, I was over there talking to [Tomlin] and he wanted me to keep it a secret so the other teams didn't know," Johnson said. "They said they liked what I did, they liked how I look and they wanted to bring me up and sign me."

For more details on Johnson's improbable come-back story, including the three jobs he worked while preparing for one more chance to impress scouts, click here. It's worth a read -- especially if you're in need of some motivation today...

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