End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.
Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.
Player: Cody Wallace
Experience: 7 Years
Cody Wallace was a former mid-round draft pick of the 49ers back in 2008, and despite being kicked around a few teams in his career, he never received much playing time, let alone started a game, until he hooked up with the Steelers just prior to the 2013 season.
Out of training camp, it was actually John Malecki who had earned a roster spot. But when Wallace was made available after missing the final cut down, the front office moved to pick him up, reasoning that the Steelers’ bigger need was at center. Wallace was a natural center, whereas Malecki was not. Malecki also had even less experience and pedigree.
Wallace spent most of the first half of the 2013 season on the inactive list, but he found himself in a game or two here and there at guard as injuries mounted. Still, the Steelers ended up starting Guy Whimper, a natural tackle who had never played guard, at both left and right guard ahead of Wallace.
But after center Fernando Velasco went down three quarters of the way through the season—he was, of course, already replacing Maurkice Pouncey—it was up the Wallace to finish up the season, starting the final four games.
It took him a couple of games to get into a rhythm, and he drew a couple of penalties, but he final two starts in particular showed a lot of progress and potential. Wallace showed off a nasty demeanor and endeared himself well to fans.
For his efforts, the Steelers rewarded the veteran journeyman with a low-value three-year contract that provided him stability for once in his career. In the first year of his deal, he was asked to fill in for a two-game stretch at left guard early in the season in replace of Ramon Foster.
Admittedly, playing at guard for a full stretch did not look as natural for Wallace, though it is worth keeping in mind that he faced some quality competition in those two games, and he also battled a turf toe injury during the preseason that caused him to miss a good deal of time.
Though Wallace is already 30, he should have limited wear on his body, given that he has a grand total of six starts on his resume. He should at the very worst fulfill the final two years of his contract as a capable backup at all three interior offensive line spots.