A follower of Army football would associate Trent Steelman with being one of the greatest quarterbacks in team history. The Baltimore Ravens see him as a wide receiver. Having made the position switch, he is currently the 12th receiver on their roster.
This wasn’t the first time the Ravens had shown interest in Steelman. He participated in the team’s rookie minicamp after the 2013 draft. The Ravens were reportedly interested in signing Steelman, but he had to fulfill his military commitment. Steelman was released from active duty in December to pursue a professional football career. He is currently in the reserves.
Steelman was Army’s all-time leading rushing quarterback. He ran for 3,320 yards and 45 touchdowns. He’s the only Army player ever to both pass and run for more than 2,000 yards. He set a team record with 46 games and 32 consecutive starts. In 2012, he set the single-season school record with 17 rushing touchdowns. He has been working at receiver since the Army released him from active duty, and he participated in the International Federation of American Football World Championship last month. He helped lead Team USA to a gold medal and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
“I haven’t played a lot of wide receiver, but I just got done playing wide receiver for Team USA and I’ve learned a lot,” Steelman told the Baltimore Sun. “I’ve been working hard to learn as much as possible.” Steelman said he realized any possible pro career would not be at quarterback. A 5-foot-11, 200-pound option quarterback would be foolish to believe so.
As for his first few days in training camp, Steelman said, “Absolutely, it’s been a humbling couple of days that’s for sure. I thank Baltimore for giving me that second chance and believing in me as a player. Right now, I’m just trying to get my feet wet and get out here and do what I can as a player.”
Steelman served in the Army at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., before military officials told him he was free to pursue the NFL. He’s now serving on reserve duty.
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from the Army,” Steelman said. “I’m very grateful to get this opportunity.”
He had previously worked out with the Patriots, who passed on the chance to sign him. He is hoping to fill a versatile role for the Ravens, including special teams.
“I’m going to try special teams and try to make my way there,” Steelman said. “Unless they’ve got something planned, I don’t think I’ll be playing any quarterback.”
Steelman said he wants to become more familiar with the playbook, which will allow him to better utilize his athleticism on the field. He wants to get so familiar with the playbook that he gets to the point where he doesn’t have to think about it out on the field. Making such a position change at the pro level is perhaps the ultimate challenge.
“Technique-wise, I am learning the little things as a receiver. I am working on getting off the ball, not selling my cuts too early, getting in and out of my routes,” Steelman said. “I like my growth and I will continue to work and continue to make it work.”
Army’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will host Navy in a doubleheader Jan. 23 at Madison Square Garden.
“This is a special opportunity for our players, coaches and fans, and a great chance to showcase our teams in New York City,” Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said.
The Army men’s team last played at the Garden during the 1985-86 season when it met La Salle. In 1969, Army coach Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski, a senior captain for the Black Knights, led Army to a fourth-place finish in the N.I.T.
“Having the privilege to play at Madison Square Garden is a tremendous opportunity for our program,” Army men’s coach Zach Spiker said. “One of the advantages of being at West Point is that our cadet-athletes are able to travel and experience unique places and events like this one. Our team will appreciate the opportunity, but will also be focused on the challenge of competing against a great opponent in Navy.”
More recently, the women’s basketball team played at the Garden at the Maggie Dixon Classic in 2007 and 2008. “We’re looking forward to going back to Madison Square Garden,” women’s coach Dave Magarity said. “For years, I have been going to the Garden as a coach and a fan and there is nothing like it. This will be a great experience for our kids, especially our seniors who have been to three straight postseason national tournaments and for our fans to see a great rivalry in a tremendous venue.”