Hall hoping to make most of dream chance

LATROBE, Pa. -- The month that Jordan Hall had to wait a month for a phone call probably felt like a year.

But he couldn't have been happier when it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who made the call and brought back the local running back after passing on signing him following a tryout at rookie minicamp.

Hall, who grew up in nearby Jeannette rooting for the Steelers, signed with the team during minicamp in the middle of June, and he is in training camp trying to play his way onto the 53-man roster after some initial pinch-me moments.

"I was young watching Troy (Polamalu) and Ben (Roethlisberger) win Super Bowls and it's just crazy to be out here with them," Hall said. "I just want to help the team win and get to the goal we want this year."

Hall is one of five players battling for the final running back spot on the roster -- and that is assuming the Steelers keep four players at the position in addition to fullback-tight end Will Johnson -- and he appears to be off to a good start.

"He's a very pleasant surprise," running backs coach James Saxon said. "He looks a lot quicker to me. He's not out of place here."

Hall is playing faster than he did in the few offseason practices he took part in with the Steelers because he has a stronger grasp on the playbook.

What also helps his bid to make the team as a longshot: Hall is versatile and willing to do the little things that will be required of a fourth running back.

Hall, who starred at Ohio State but went undrafted in May, has been working diligently on his pass protection skills. The 5-foot-9, 191-pounder also has experience covering kickoffs and punts, having done both at Ohio State.

Special-teams play will be critical to the less heralded running backs separating themselves, and Hall should see times on those units Saturday night when the Steelers play the New York Giants as well as get snaps in the backfield.

Hall will try to make the most of any opportunities he gets after spending a month between May and June wondering if he would have to try the Canadian Football League or finish his degree in financial management and get a job.

"You don't know if someone's going to call," Hall said in the weeks that followed his tryout with the Steelers, "so I was just believing in the man upstairs, and He brought me back here, back home. I'm having fun out here."