Steelers RB Warren 'excited for what's to come,' he tells Tomahawks fans in Johnstown visit

Mar. 21—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Running back Jaylen Warren said Wednesday he is experiencing some mixed feelings, from excitement to sadness, about the major personnel overhaul that the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently undergoing.

"I say it's pretty exciting because they're bringing that many players in," Warren said during a meet-and-greet at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial prior to the Johnstown Tomahawks' home hockey game Wednesday.

"Obviously, there's change that's needed, but also it's kind of sad because you build these relationships with guys and you see them go. When people come in, obviously people got to go, and so it is part of the business. I'm excited for the change, and I'm excited for what's to come."

Warren added: "We're really excited just to come in and build that camaraderie and build that chemistry with the team because, you know, we've got some ballers on this team. I'm excited for the season, to see how far we can go. I just don't want to talk about it anymore — I just want to get to it."

In recent weeks, the team has brought in nine-time Pro Bowl, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson; quarterback Justin Fields; linebacker Patrick Queen; wide receiver Van Jefferson; safety DeShon Elliott; cornerback Donte Jackson; and punter Cam Johnston through either trade or free agency.

The franchise's unusually active offseason has also included parting ways with several offensive players, including quarterbacks Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky; wide receivers Diontae Johnson and Allen Robinson II; center Mason Cole; and offensive tackle Chuks Okorafor.

Rumors are circulating that Omar Khan, the Steelers' general manager, might be looking to make even more moves before the draft.

Warren's visit to Johnstown occurred after his second year in the NFL, during which he carried the ball 149 times for 784 yards as part of a one-two combination with running back Najee Harris. The Steelers finished 10-7 and lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Pickett, Rudolph and Trubisky all started games for the Steelers last season.

Warren was asked, now that all three are gone, if he would say who was his preference at quarterback.

"My preference, ah, I would say Mason," Warren said. "Kenny was my dawg."

Pittsburgh's offense often struggled, ranking near the bottom of the NFL in scoring and yardage.

The team failed to win a playoff game for the seventh year in a row.

That led to the overhaul, including bringing in new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, whose teams have ranked among the top 10 in rushing attempts during four of his five years as an offensive play caller.

"I didn't know he was top 10, so I'm even more excited," Warren said with a laugh. "I know he likes to run the ball. Me and Najee like to run the ball. But, you know, it comes down to whatever's going to help us win games, so I'm excited who we get to work with."

Warren was the latest Pittsburgh sports personality brought in by the Tomahawks for meet-and-greet events over the years. Others have included Steelers four-time Super Bowl-champion running back Rocky Bleier and Steelers' Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis.

"This is awesome," said Derek Partsch, the Tomahawks' director of business operations. "Since I started here, this is our first active Steeler, so everybody seems to be excited. ... Obviously, the Steelers are in the news a lot recently, so I think we're pulling from that."

The team presented Warren with a personal Tomahawks jersey.

"He loves his hockey jersey," Partsch said. "He said it's the first time he's ever put a hockey jersey on. The quote was, 'I'm going to sleep in this thing.' He didn't expect it to be as big as it was. It was funny."