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Warren: 'I shocked myself'

For rookie running back Jaylen Warren, Tuesday was a rollercoaster of emotions.

From the stress of not knowing if he was going to make the Steelers 53-man roster, to the elation of landing a spot on it, it was the full gamut for him.

"I was keeping my head on a swivel, hoping nobody came up to me and asked me for my iPad," admitted Warren.

It wasn't until the roster cut deadline hit at 4 p.m., that he was finally able to breathe.

"When it hit four, when it hit four o'clock," said Warren. "I was relieved. But I still have work to do."

Warren signed with the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2022 NFL Draft. He was in a battle at running back, beating out 2020 fourth round draft pick Anthony McFarland Jr. for the spot at running back.

"I shocked myself to be able to compete with these guys," said Warren. "There are great athletes all around. Being able to compete with them made me better in all aspects of the game."
Warren, standing in front of his metal temporary locker that will soon be replaced by a permanent locker, said he called his mother first, and then his father to share the news.

"As soon as it four," said Warren of when he called. "People were congratulating me at 3:55. I was like I still have five minutes. I was over there hiding I the corner.

"It was like a dream came true. That is what I was working for, and it finally happened. It was like a moment of silence. I was too shocked to react to anything. I called my family and said I really made it. It's true, I made it."

When Warren first came in for rookie minicamp he had that wide-eyed approach every rookie does, taking it all in.

Today, that excitement is still the same, but he is just planning on approaching it differently as the team prepares for the regular season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 11.

"Every day I come to the Steelers facility I see the Steelers logo and I am like, really. I am going to the Steelers facility," said Warren. "I still get the same high from the first time I walked in here.

"It's still surreal at this point. I feel like I have to tone it down, still be focused. I can't be too hyped, too star struck. I've got to control it and realize I am playing the game I have been playing since I was eight."

Warren doesn't know what his role will be at this point, but just wants to do whatever is asked, whenever it's asked.

"Just contribute to the team any way I can and win games," said Warren. "That's my goal."

Special teams will likely play a part for him, and it's something he welcomes with open arms, especially the opportunity to deliver some hits instead of taking the hits.

"I like the contact of it. My experience with tackling hasn't been great. But learning the techniques that come with it. It opens a new aspect of the game to me, seeing what is on the field, pre-snap.

"It gave me a high, running down and hitting somebody, that was exciting. It's not fun being hit. I understand it's part of the game. When I do it, I try and do it 100 percent."