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: Terence Garvin
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 3 Years
Three years ago, Terence Garvin not only went undrafted, he went unsigned after the draft. He was given a rookie minicamp tryout invitation with the Steelers, however, and managed to earn a contract for the team’s 90-mean offseason roster through his work there.
The somewhat undersized linebacker got his chance with the team, and thanks to his standout special teams work during the preseason, he even managed to make the 53-man roster that year, active his first game over fellow rookie sixth-round draft pick Vince Williams for the season opener for special teams purposes.
And he has been here since, still making himself an integral part of the special teams. The only game he did not spend on the 53-man roster since then was the 2013 season finale, prior to which he was placed on injured reserve.
But where will he be in 2016? Because it’s starting to look like it might not be in Pittsburgh. It started when the Steelers chose not to tender him a restricted free agent offer, even though they have shown in the past a willingness to tender nearly everybody, including several players who would figure to be about on par to the level of importance that Garvin represents.
And the now unrestricted free agent has already begun to plan visits, though he has yet to sign with anybody. For a player who only has a handful of defensive snaps to his name over a three-year period, you would think that he would not have a very rich market.
But the fact that he could draw a visit this early does suggest that his special teams value is indeed acknowledged outside of Pittsburgh—it helps when you have a highlight play on your resume such as his block on the Bengals kickers as a rookie, even if it was an illegal block for which he was fined.
My question entering this offseason is whether or not the Steelers viewed Garvin as a player, like Robert Golden, who could develop into a defensive contributor, and the team has used him in goal line packages. But they did replace him—with Golden, in fact—during the goal line package last year.
If another team believes he has the ability to play on defense, perhaps as a sub-package linebacker, as the Steelers may have once envisioned him, then he may well be playing somewhere else next year. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if he still ends up back in Pittsburgh. It’s happened before.