Updated: Jun 8
The perception of special teams, is as a bridge to a starting role on either offense or defense. Yet, for veteran safety Jordan Dangerfield, he has managed to build is a healthy career doing so.
It seems fitting, playing of a head coach like Mike Tomlin, who understands and appreciates the value of a special team player. Perhaps this was one of many reasons why, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to sign him to a one-year contract. Over time, Dangerfield has understood his role and has made the most of it, though he does not deny that he still holds on to the dream of someday starting on defense.
"Everybody wants to be a starter on offense or defense and that is still my dream, to be a starter," he told longtime Steelers.com writer Teresa Varley back in March. "But I like my role. I think they know what I can do here. You are a starter on special teams."
When given his opportunities, Dangerfield has been as productive as one can be. In four seasons with the Steelers, he has made three starts at safety while playing in 46 games. During that time, he accumulated 36 total tackles, with two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovered. Never worrying about his next start, Dangerfield has always been aware of his strengths. For him, the moment to perform has never been too much to handle.
"I love the pressure. You only get one play. You don't have time for any mess-ups. You have to go out and deliver on that play," he told Varley.
Since his arrival in 2014, he has blossomed into, arguably, the team's most important special teams player. Considering the departure of former special team's captain Tyler Matakevich, the importance of his contributions will surely increase.