Steelers QB Taryn Christion’s role for 1st week: imitating Ravens’ Lamar Jackson
Mike Tomlin on Tuesday lamented that the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have anyone on their roster who could help them appropriately prepare for the distinctive skillset of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
So they made a call that night to, of all places, South Dakota, where a young man getting a haircut was eager to come to Pittsburgh and give his best at serving as a Jackson clone.
“I didn’t have time (Tuesday) night so flew out this morning,” Taryn Christion said Wednesday. “Got here about 10 minutes before practice started, got changed and went outside.”
When he got there, Christion served as scout-team quarterback, mimicking the athletic former Heisman Trophy winner in Jackson.
“I think he gave us a pretty good representation,” linebacker Vince Williams said of Christion, who was one of NCAA FCS’ best dual-threat quarterbacks the past 3½ years at South Dakota State.
“I appreciate (management) giving us a more accurate look at who he’s going to be representing.”
The 6-foot-2, 218-pound Christion accumulated 13,050 passing yards, 1,515 rushing yards and a combined 130 touchdowns in college.
After running the 40-yard dash in under 4.5 seconds and showing off a throwing arm of 60-plus yards, Christion was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Seattle Seahawks. Though he was waived less than a month later, the Dallas Cowboys signed Christion before their camp. He played extensively during the fourth preseason game but was part of the final cuts before the start of the regular season.
QB Taryn Christion talks about his role this week after signing with the Steelers on their practice squad pic.twitter.com/1NSRGHJyjR
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) October 2, 2019
Christion did some special teams work and even ran some routes for the Cowboys, and he reiterated Wednesday he would be open to playing any position.
But for his initial three days with the Steelers, at least, Christion is focused on one job: giving a Jackson impersonation.
“We haven’t specifically said what I am going to be doing, but just going through practice and running some scout-team stuff,” Christion said. “I’ll go out there and do my best, go out there and play hard. I am not Lamar Jackson, but I am going to play hard and run fast and do those things (he does).”
Christion joins former first-round pick Paxton Lynch on the Steelers practice squad. With Ben Roethlisberger out for the season because of elbow surgery, new starter Mason Rudolph and undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges are quarterbacks on the active roster.
The four quarterbacks on the Steelers’ 53-man roster and practice squad combine for six NFL starts. The Steelers have not carried four quarterbacks at any point during the Mike Tomlin tenure. Christion said the organization did not give him any indication if his stay with the team would be a mere one-week shot.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .