Opportunity knocks again for Renner

Bryn Renner thought about making himself eligible for the NFL Draft after his junior season at North Carolina but eventually returned for a senior campaign that was ultimately cut short by injury.

Now, an injury to Steelers quarterback Dustin Vaughn has opened another door for Renner, who has been knocking on those around the NFL for the past two years.

"Hindsight's 20-20, but I also know God has a plan," Renner said. "I just really felt like I wanted to come back and do something my senior year but injuries are part of the game, they happen.

"I'm fortunate to have been with five franchises since 2014, I really can't complain.

"Everything happens for a reason."

Vaughn was injured in Thursday night's 17-0 preseason loss to the Eagles.

"It's a fractured bone in my thumb," said Vaughn, who showed up at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Saturday sporting a cast on his right thumb. "It's supposed to heal on its own, but as far as a timetable I have no idea.

"It's always frustrating but it's part of football. You have to deal with things that happen like this on a daily basis. It's unfortunate with the timing of it. I'm just going to try to get back as quick as possible."

Renner, 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, heard whispers that he projected as a fourth-to-seventh round draft pick following his junior season at North Carolina in 2013.

His senior season in 2014 ended after seven starts due to a shoulder injury.

Since then Renner has been with Denver, Baltimore, Tennessee, San Diego and now the Steelers.

His experience in Baltimore included backing up Jimmy Clausen for one regular-season game and gleaning an appreciation for the Ravens' rivalry with the Steelers.

"You hear the little high-school nuances, so to speak, how true the rivalry is and how competitive it is," Renner said. "You hear it in training camp all the time. We're watching film constantly, trying to get a leg up, and probably vice-versa."

The Steelers were down to two healthy quarterbacks (Ben Roethlisberger and Landry Jones) in the wake of Vaughn's injury.

Bruce Gradkowski had suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason opener on Aug. 12 against Detroit.

"I think the opportunity is what you make of it," Renner said. "I think I have a great opportunity. When you come in with two weeks left in preseason you kind of know what to expect.

"I have some preseason experience. Hopefully, that'll rub off and shake the rust off. I have a great opportunity ahead of me."

Renner's most recent team prior to joining the Steelers had been Austin Peay.

He had started a job as the Governors' quarterbacks coach on Aug. 1.

"Coach Healy (head coach Will) and Coach Satterfield (offensive coordinator Wesley) were very understanding of kind of wanting to do both jobs," Renner said. "If an opportunity presented itself in the NFL, they gave me full reign to pursue that.

"I'm very appreciative to them."

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