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: Anthony Chickillo
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 1 Year
Despite the fact that the Steelers already knew that they would have four outside linebackers in place by the time their turn came around to select in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, that did not make them shy away from selecting Anthony Chickillo, who actually dropped some weight in order to play the position at the professional level, coming from a defensive end background.
A third-generation professional football player, Chickillo was able to put his know-how to good use when training camp opened and the pads came on, getting the opportunity to turn some heads early on and create enough momentum to carry him onto the 53-man roster—for a brief while.
The rookie did make the initial 53-man roster, but he was released a day later in order to make room for players that the Steelers had claimed off waivers or signed as a free agent. He did fairly quickly find his way back to the 53-man roster after spending a few weeks on the practice squad, and that is where he remained, as the fifth outside linebacker, for the rest of his rookie season.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that he got a lot of time to contribute. In fact, he spent only seven of his 14 weeks on the 53-man roster during the regular season active on game day, though he was also active for both postseason games. His work was limited almost entirely to special teams outside of one game, and in that capacity he recorded six tackles, in addition to a forced fumble.
He did get the opportunity to contribute on defense in one game, as mentioned, during which James Harrison was out. He rotated in at right outside linebacker for 22 snaps, but he failed to officially record a statistic. While he did not play out of place, and showed hustle and motor, it was certainly nothing to put on a resume.
With Harrison’s fate yet to be determined, so, too, is Chickillo’s, at least as far as the 2016 season is concerned. If he does indeed play another year, then his position on the 53-man roster could even be in jeopardy, even if they were willing to carry him for all but three weeks on the roster in 2015.