PHILADELPHIA - Pittsburgh Steelers safety Myron Rolle was looking to make an impact in Thursday's preseason game against the Eagles.
The former Galloway Township resident delivered a big one in the third quarter of the Eagles' 24-23 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
Eagles punt returner Damaris Johnson saw a sliver of daylight and headed upfield in the third quarter. Rolle quickly filled the opening and delivered a punishing blow that produced oohs and aahs from the crowd.
"Special teams is my main priority," Rolle said after the game. "That's why the Steelers signed me (as a free agent in January) and that's what I've been focusing on in training camp. Coach Tomlin is looking for guys who can play special teams and hopefully I'll be one of those guys on the (regular-season) roster."
Rolle, 25, got off to an encouraging start on Thursday. Playing with the Steelers' top punt coverage unit, he also stopped Johnson in the second quarter and led the team with two special teams tackles.
He also got a lot of playing time on defense. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder played the entire second half on defense with mixed results. Rolle was credited with one defensive tackle, but also missed two. The biggest mistake came late in the game, when Eagles wide receiver Jamel Hamler got past him en route to a 16-yard touchdown.
Rolle had a lot of supporters in the stands. He bought tickets for nearly 20 family members, friends and former youth coaches to the game.
"It cost me a pretty penny, but it was worth it," said Rolle, who played for the Galloway Township Mustangs in the Junior Football League and basketball at the Galloway Township PAL.
Rolle is one of four local players trying to make an NFL roster this year. Longport resident Jack Crawford (St. Augustine Prep) is a rookie defensive end with the Oakland Raiders. He was the Raiders' fifth-round draft pick last April. Stafford Township native Clark Harris (Southern Regional High School) is in his fourth season as a long snapper for the Cincinnati Bengals. Millville native Dwayne Hendricks is in his third training camp with the New York Giants as a defensive tackle.
EXTRA POINTS: The Eagles announced Saturday that backup quarterback Mike Kafka suffered a broken left (non-throwing) hand against the Steelers and will be sidelined for approximately three weeks. Rookie Nick Foles, who threw two touchdown passes against the Steelers, was promoted to the No. 2 spot behind starter Michael Vick.
The Eagles made another change in their offensive depth chart Saturday. King Dunlap took reps at left tackle with the first-team offense while Demetress Bell was demoted to second team.