RMU alum, ‘part-Yinzer’ Marcelis Branch hopes to stick with Steelers
Florida native Marcelis Branch called Allegheny County home for more than five years earlier this decade, and the Robert Morris product is back in Pittsburgh this spring.
“I’m part-Yinzer now,” Branch said with a wide smile during Pittsburgh Steelers organized team activities last week at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
Branch hopes his second stint in Pittsburgh is not just temporary.
A 5-foot-11, 180-pound cornerback, Branch is out to make an impression during summer workouts and training camp.
The odds might be long for the former undrafted player, whose previous NFL experience consists of two summers and a practice-squad stint with the Atlanta Falcons. But this isn’t the first time Branch was a long shot. And the first time, it worked out well.
Lightly recruited out of Miami Southridge High School in Homestead, Fla., Branch said he never had heard of Robert Morris until a connection through the Colonials coaching staff brought a scout to see him eight years ago.
“Then I had a visit up here, and I loved it,” Branch said. “They offered me a full ride, and you can’t turn that down.”
Branch became a four-year starter and all-conference performer for RMU. That opened pro scouts’ eyes, and he was signed by the Falcons after the 2017 draft.
Arrive with bad intentions! Marcelis Branch! 😤😤 pic.twitter.com/BXaA26EC0V
— WeAreDBnation (@WeAreDBNation1) August 13, 2017
The Atlanta organization liked him enough that they kept him around for more than a year. But Branch found himself looking for work again early this year.
Luckily for Branch, just like in the business world, alumni ties can pay off. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is a Robert Morris alum, and the team signed Branch to a reserve/future deal in January.
“I didn’t know that until I actually looked it up,” Branch said. “I did my research on everybody, really, and I was like ‘Robert Morris!’ (for Colbert). I looked and thought, ‘Is this right?’ And it was, which was pretty cool.
“We spoke, and he was like, ‘Bobby Mo!’ And now, every time I see him, it’s ‘Bobby Mo, you already know!’ ”
We have signed DB Marcelis Branch to a Reserve/Future contract. pic.twitter.com/NgwxMjdkod
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) January 17, 2019
Branch is hopeful he can keep the attention of Colbert as well as coach Mike Tomlin and assistants such as Tom Bradley, Teryl Austin and Danny Smith. The Steelers could have an opening or two in the secondary, and they always could use a solid special-teams contributor.
“Obviously, special teams is going to be big for me,” Branch said, “so I am ready to show that I am a dog. And I’m gonna go get it.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .