Share & Comment:

The Steelers signed Jaray Jenkins on Monday, and the world reacted

“Steelers add another receiver to the mix.”

The above title was how so many headlines looked on Monday afternoon when news BROKE that the Steelers had signed receiver Jaray Jenkins.

Is Jenkins the answer to Pittsburgh’s problem at the number two receiver spot? I sure hope not. Jenkins, a 2023 undrafted free agent from LSU, signed with the Jaguars last year before spending the season on their practice squad. Jenkins caught zero passes for zero yards and zero touchdowns during what turned out not to be his rookie season, but before that, he caught 89 passes for 1,370 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons at LSU.

That’s it? That’s the guy they brought in? What does this all mean?

Nothing. It means nothing. Jenkins is just a guy the Steelers added to their roster during OTAs and prior to minicamp. Maybe he’ll stick around for training camp in a couple of months. Then again, maybe he won’t. You know, it’s really not all that important. No, this isn’t Omar Khan’s latest attempt to find a diamond in the rough at the receiver spot, at least, I doubt it is. Again, it’s simply a guy, a dude, a body.

You’re just a prisoner of the moment. You’re a victim of this modern Steelers news cycle that covers every transaction as if it’s a breaking story when it’s actually just barely relevant.

Take the way the media and fans cover every Steelers transaction in 2024 and picture them doing that in 1984.

Imagine if blogs, social media and podcasts existed 40 years ago, and everyone reacted to the signing of Todd Spencer, an undrafted free-agent running back from USC, the way they do to a similar transaction in 2024.

Spencer rushed for a combined 1,321 yards and 14 touchdowns in three seasons at Southern Cal before receiving a phone call from Dick Haley (I assume). I doubt it was Chuck Noll. Can you picture Noll picking up the phone and calling Spencer to inform him that he wanted to make him a Pittsburgh Steeler?

I’m not even certain such a thing happened when Noll made Franco Harris his top pick in the 1972 NFL Draft.

Obviously, it’s rather absurd to think about any sort of reaction to the signing of Spencer because blogs, social media and podcasts didn’t exist 40 years ago. They didn’t have a 24/7 news cycle. No, they just had newspapers, and I doubt someone like Spencer, who rushed for a combined 80 yards in three seasons with Pittsburgh and San Diego, even warranted a mention in a blurb at the bottom of Page 6.

Spencer retired from the NFL after the 1987 season. Either that or the NFL broke up with him. It’s hard to say.

Anyway, while I can’t say this for sure, I’m fairly certain there was no reaction to the signing of Spencer in 1984. The media didn’t speculate on whether or not he was brought in as insurance just in case the contract talks between the Steelers and Harris turned ugly (they did, btw). There weren’t articles written about him, and I doubt he was mentioned during any sports reports on the 12 o’clock, six o’clock and 11 o’clock news.

Like Jenkins is now, Spencer was just a prisoner of the moment and how the NFL was covered in those days. The same can be said for the media and fans. Having said that, I do believe 1984 was way more accurate with how it reacted to news like the signing of a UDFA from USC than 2024 is with the reaction to the Steelers signing Jenkins.

Regardless of the heightened coverage in the modern era, Jaray Jenkins is just as much a random signing by the Steelers today as Todd Spencer was 40 years ago.


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.