PITTSBURGH -- Injuries have thrust two unknown backups -- safety Jordan Dangerfield and offensive guard B.J. Finney -- into starting spots for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Both are undrafted, both were released in 2015 training camp and brought back through the practice squad.
But neither are nervous. This is what they expected from their careers.
"I wouldn't say overwhelming," said Dangerfield, who played college ball at Towson. "I've been preparing my whole life for this."
Finney, who will replace Ramon Foster in the lineup, has at least one trait going for him -- he's "mastered" absorbing a bull rush, left tackle Alejandro Villanueva said. He understands leverage from his wrestling days growing up in Andale, Kansas. But playing for the Steelers runs deeper than technique.
Finney grew up wanting to play for the Steelers because of the edge they played with every Sunday, he said. He was emotional when announcing to his family in 2015 that he had signed with the team. The video is touching. And now he savors every football moment, from getting taped up in the morning to talking football in meetings. Villanueva jokingly admits he's "nowhere near as passionate" about everyday football as Finney.
"Can't put into words," said Finney about starting. "It's cheesy and corny, but this is a dream come true to be a part of this franchise."
While Finney was a classic developmental guy for offensive line coach Mike Munchak, Dangerfield was a longer shot to make the 53-man roster. The preseason injury to cornerback Senquez Golson created a roster spot, and Dangerfield took advantage. Now, with safeties Robert Golden and Sean Davis hurt, Dangerfield doesn't want the Steelers to experience a dropoff.
"That's something they do here, they develop guys to be starters or guys on the 53-man roster," Dangerfield said. "I prepare to start every week."