The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Clifton Geathers
Position: Defensive End
Experience: 6 Years
Clifton Geathers is a player who has spent exactly five games on the Steelers’ 53-man roster over the course of the past two seasons, and has never played a single snap in a Steelers uniform, and yet his name is still significant with respect to the course of the 2015 season because of the resulting implications of his absence from the roster.
Geathers was originally signed by the Steelers in 2014 after veteran Brett Keisel went down with an injury with four games left in the regular season. Geathers had been released earlier in the season by the Redskins, who had just signed him, which resulted in him being available at the time as a street free agent.
The team acknowledged after his signing that he was a player that they considered signing during the offseason, yet even in spite of that, he never saw a snap for the team down the stretch, which resulted in the starters playing an unexpectedly heavy load, and it also helped usher then-rookie Stephon Tuitt into the starting lineup.
Privy to the fact that his starting defensive ends were logging too many snaps, defensive line coach John Mitchell advocated for the re-signing of Geathers the following offseason in a move that many took with mild surprise.
But the veteran line coach went to bat for Geathers when he spoke during the draft, expressing his fondness for what he had seen from the veteran journeyman during his time with him on the practice field.
With the Steelers doing little to address the defensive line depth during the course of the offseason, it was widely expected that the tea leaves were spelling out not just a roster spot, but a role in the rotation for Geathers in 2015.
That turned out to be far from the case, as the veteran was placed on the injured reserve list early in training camp for undisclosed reasons, really not even ever getting onto the field. He certainly was far away from ever participating in a preseason game, so for many, it is a bit odd that a player who was a part of the organization for parts of two seasons was never seen in uniform doing anything.
As far as 2016 goes, Geathers is currently a free agent and available to sign with anybody, but even if he proves to be healthy and fully able to resume football activities, there is certainly no indication that the Steelers are interested in inking him to another contract.