Ross Ventrone finally caught a break.
And if anybody deserved a break, it was indeed Ross Ventrone.
The Chartiers Valley High School product had the distinction of being signed, released or promoted by the Patriots 29 times in three years including 21 times in 2011 (eight in one month) before coming to the Steelers in 2013 where he was, you guessed it, signed or released another half dozen times.
That in itself would tend to demoralize a player.
“I looked at like they valued me enough to keep me around and I looked it as a positive thing,” Ventrone said on Wednesday. “I looked at it if that’s the way they want to use me that’s fine with me. As long as the value me and value me being part of the team was all that I was concerned about.”
Finally, something broke right for Ventrone, and it had nothing to do with the Steelers adding him to the 53-man roster over the weekend and then played his first game in three years and got a hefty $30,000 pay check to go along with it.
The break came two months before.
Ventrone was out of practice squad eligibility as the Steelers headed into training camp. Ventrone had to make the team because if he got cut this time, there was no practice squad as a fall back. With the safety unit stacked, Ventrone’s career appeared to be over.
“At that time, I was just working to get better every day and worrying about one day at a time,” Ventrone said. “I didn’t even know about the rule change.”
Little did Ventrone realize but the NFL and NFLPA augmented their practice squad rules during the middle of August that allowed a player to be eligible for the practice squad for a fourth year.
Ventrone got a break … finally.
“I am glad because it finally worked out,” Ventrone said.
Fast forward to Saturday and the Steelers promoted Ventrone to the active roster after Shamarko Thomas was ruled out.
Ventrone’s first game with his hometown team came against the Browns just a couple hours up the road. That allowed his mother along with some aunts and uncles to make the short drive to watch him play.
“The first game dressing in the Black and Gold against Cleveland, it was a great feeling,” Ventrone said. “It only lasted for a little bit and stuff had to get real.”
Ventrone had a special teams tackle and an assist in a 31-10 loss to the Browns.
“Hopefully I can give them a reason to keep me where I am at,” Ventrone said.
However, it wasn’t all good news for the Ventrone family over the weekend. Ray Ventrone was released by the 49ers three days after Ross was signed to the active roster by the Steelers.