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Ray-Ray McCloud is taking advantage of his opportunity with the Steelers


(Screenshot of Ray-Ray McCloud's 58-yard run against the Eagles on Oct. 11)


McCloud was drafted in the sixth round out of Clemson in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Bills and has moved around throughout his young career. He played in 10 games his rookie season but would be released by the Bills before the 2019 season and was claimed off waivers by Carolina only to return to Buffalo's practice squad on Oct. 17.


McCloud served as the scout team quarterback for the Buffalo, emulating the style of mobile quarterbacks that the Bills would face that week. He signed a reserve/future contract with the Bills on January 6, 2020, and was waived on July, 27. The Steelers signed McCloud on Aug. 21 and would proceed to beat out Ryan Switzer for a spot on the 53-man roster.


With moving around to different teams in such a short time period and getting released twice by the team that drafted him, McCloud still remained confident about his future in the NFL.


"I wasn't wondering if it was in jeopardy," McCloud said about his career before he was signed by the Steelers. "I was at a point where I wasn't getting worried, but it was like, dang, I am really sitting at home knowing I can compete with players in the NFL and to not be on a team was difficult for me. I just honed in on the moment and trained and trained. When my opportunity came, I was going to take advantage of it.


"The day the Steelers called me I was at church. A phone number kept calling me and it was at the point where you are having one of those days where you are to yourself, and you don't want to talk about it. It was that day. God was talking to me at church and as soon as I left, I had to get on a plane."


McCloud took advantage of the opportunity he was given on Sunday against the Eagles, rushing for 63 yards on two carries, with one of those rushes going for 58 yards off an end-around on the Steelers' first possession after halftime that set up a 5-yard touchdown reception by Chase Claypool to give the Steelers a 24-14 lead. McCloud also had two receptions for 12 yards and two kickoff returns for 48 yards.


"When I got here, they took me in as family," McCloud said. "That is what you feel here. It feels like college. We are together all of the time. It's like family. Coach (Mike) Tomlin makes it like that. He is upfront with everything. There is no sugar coating anything. You have to love that from a coach standpoint. When you love your coach, you go all out for him and yourself.


"When I got here my mindset was go be you and just be Ray-Ray. Don't change for anybody. You have to be a professional but go be yourself."


McCloud believes that he's found a home in Pittsburgh and is fitting in well in the wide receivers room.


"If I had to pick one word, on a day to day basis, it's goofy," McCloud said. "We have a goofy room and have fun, we laugh. If we feel like we are not being on our craft, we are like we have to chill and get back to work. As a whole, we're young. You can feel it's young in the room. We all come in and compete with each other, push each other, motivate each other on the field. If we think we can do something better, we talk about it as a group in the room. The room is great."


Rookie stud receiver Chase Claypool has even been impressed by what McCloud has brought to the wide receiver corps and the offense.


"I'm looking around the receiver room, the five guys we have are playmakers," Claypool said. "You see Ray-Ray coming in, every time he touches the ball, he makes a play. I'm super excited for him because he's slowly getting into the offense and making plays, and that just adds to our depth. And then you obviously have guys like JuJu, Diontae, James Washington. All of those guys make it really exciting going into game day."

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