Versatile Moore is ready for whatever
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, August 7, 2010
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Mewelde Moore chuckled when asked to describe his role with the Steelers.
"Today, I'm a third-down back, tomorrow a starter. Three days later, I'm a kick returner. Whatever I'm asked to do, that's what I am,'' Moore said.
Early in the week, Moore was the starting running back at practice when Rashard Mendenall couldn't practice after having his toe stepped on and rookie Jonathan Dwyer was sidelined with a pulled hamstring.
Moore is whatever the Steelers need him to be.
With the status of the ground game uncertain behind Mendenhall, Moore is the only other proven veteran running back on the roster.
"We knew when we signed him two years ago, he was a versatile player who could fit into a lot of different roles, and he hasn't disappointed,'' running backs coach Kirby Wilson said. "He's a guy who's always there whenever you need him. That's been his style since he's been here, and we hope that he continues to shine.''
In 2008, Moore filled in for Willie Parker and rushed for 99 and 120 yards and scored two touchdowns in consecutive wins against Jacksonville and Cincinnati.
Based on early returns in training camp, Moore will likely fill the same role in 2010.
Moore's official position is third-down back. He's a pass-receiving specialist who can get open coming out of the backfield and pick up first downs. He had 61 receptions in his first two seasons with the Steelers.
Moore also returns kickoffs and punts. The coaching staff trusts him to field punts deep in the Steelers' end of the field.
"The most important thing is I'm definitely sold out to this team, my team,'' said Moore, who's entering the final year of his contract. "I want to make sure I'm doing everything to play winning football. Whatever that means for me, whatever I'm asked to do, that's what I'm gonna do.''
Moore, who entered the NFL with a reputation for being a finesse runner, appears more comfortable than ever carrying the ball between the tackles.
Moore, who was listed at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings, said he's now 6-0, 220.
"I grew taller and wider in the league. I knew I was always going to be a guy who was slow to develop physically. In high school, we didn't have weights. In the summer, I was always playing baseball,'' said Moore, who was drafted in the fourth round of the NFL Draft and the fourth round of the Major League Baseball draft.
"My wife and I talked about how I had to stand on my toes to get my hand over her shoulder. Now I am taller than her. She stopped growing. I kept growing. That's funny.''
Moore, who turned 28 last month, said he stopped worrying a long time ago about "things I can't control.'' He embraces his role as a do-it-all player.
"I don't lay in bed thinking about this and that,'' Moore said. "When I go to bed after talking to my wife and talking to my kids and saying my prayers, whatever dreams I dream, those are the things I think about when I'm sleeping.''