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Conner: RB touches will 'spread out pretty evenly'

The Pittsburgh Steelers are speaking a running back by committee into existence.

What first started as a spark from GM Kevin Colbert, has become a full-blown fire as the Steelers finish up minicamp.

The latest to suggest an RBBC approach in Pittsburgh is lead-back James Conner.

"I think it'll be spread out pretty evenly," Conner said Wednesday of distributing carries in 2019, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

During coach Mike Tomlin's career, he's never employed a running back committee. From Willie Parker to Rashard Mendenhall to Le'Veon Bell to Conner last year, he's always employed a workhorse. That could change this season.

Colbert suggested a committee approach after the Steelers drafted Benny Snell in the fourth round. Backup Jaylen Samuels then suggested he and Conner could see snaps together. With a trio of capable backs, the time could be now for the Steelers to distribute touches.

If Pittsburgh employs an RBBC, Conner wants you to know it's not because of injury concerns.

"I'm durable," Conner said. "I missed a couple games. No matter what shape you're in or how your body is, that happens. You know that's going to happen."

In Conner and Samuel, the Steelers have two backs that have shown they can be effective and bring diverse skillsets to the table. Pittsburgh also loves what they've got in Snell. While Tomlin might have preferred to ride one horse in the past, he'll employ a stable he can trust now.

Ultimately, however, it comes down to the coach's comfort level.

"James' versatility and level of conditioning will be factors in that discussion," Tomlin said when asked about a committee approach. "We're open to it. All people are working hard, but there are some other viable men. It's just not a two-man discussion at the running back position. I've been pleased with the progress of the larger body."

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