With injuries mounting at the position and rookie Le'Veon Bell out for an extended period with a mid-foot sprain, the Steelers traded with the Philadelphia Eagles Friday for running back Felix Jones, a former No. 1 draft choice.
The price was backup outside linebacker Adrian Robinson, who was shipped to the Eagles after making the roster in 2012 as an undrafted free agent.
The deal was contingent on each player passing a physical with their respective team. It is not known if Jones, 26, will play tonight when the Steelers meet the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field.
The decision to obtain Jones, a former top pick with the Dallas Cowboys, indicates the Steelers might be concerned how long it will take Bell, their No. 2 draft choice, to return from his mid-foot sprain. Bell's injury is not as serious as the team initially feared, but he could be out up to six weeks because of a small ligament tear in his right foot.
What's more, running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, signed in free agency over the offseason, has a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his knee and could miss the remainder of the preseason. And Isaac Redman and Baron Batch are recovering from stingers.
Steelers players and coaches were not available to the media Friday for comment.
Jones rushed for 2,728 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per rush in five seasons with the Cowboys. He also averaged 23.9 yards on 64 career kickoff returns, including a 98-yard touchdown his rookie season.
Since 2008, Jones is the only player in the NFL to post a 60-plus-yard touchdown run, a 70-plus-yard touchdown reception and a 90-plus-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. But Jones never lived up to promise expected of him when he was the 22nd overall player selected in the 2008 NFL draft. Curiously, the Cowboys drafted him one spot ahead of the Steelers, who took running back Rashard Mendenhall.
The Eagles signed Jones to a one-year contract in the offseason, but he was unimpressive in training camp and likely was not going to make their 53-man roster. The Eagles planned on keeping only three running backs.
Robinson, a rookie free agent from Temple in 2012, appeared in 12 games in 2012, mainly on special teams. The Eagles wanted him in the trade, and the Steelers obliged because they like their young talent at linebacker, including sixth-round pick Vince Williams and rookie free-agent Alan Baxter.
Gerry Dulac: email@example.com and on Twitter: @gerrydulac. First Published August 23, 2013 2:30 PM