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: Byron Stingily
Experience: 5 Years
I fully acknowledge right off the bat that this will not make for the most riveting morning reading, but for the sake of completion, we have to talk about every player, and Byron Stingily was a player who was on the Steelers’ 53-man roster for 13 weeks, including the bye week and two postseason games, which is by no means insignificant.
Of course, Stingily was not a player who was with the team during the offseason, nor was he there in training camp, the preseason, or even the season opener. The Steelers only signed the former Titan as a street free agent after the sixth game of the season when depth at the offensive tackle spot suddenly became very critical.
Obviously, this was the game in which the Steelers lost Kelvin Beachum for the season to a torn ACL, and which thrust Alejandro Villanueva, the team’s backup swing tackle, into the starting lineup, with their former primary swing tackle spending the year on the PUP list.
In spite of this opening, Stingily never got himself a helmet on game day, even if certainly factors would suggest that he should have. At 6’5” and around 320 pounds, he was the best fit in terms of size to play on the perimeter. As a four-year veteran, he previously played in 20 games and started nine, including 10 and five, respectively, in 2014.
More significantly, of course, is the fact that Stingily’s first three seasons in the league, all with Tennessee, of course, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, coincided with Mike Munchak’s tenure as head coach.
Munchak has been the Steelers’ offensive line coach for the past two seasons, but the Hall of Fame guard spent many years in the same position with the Titans before taking over the head coaching job. And Stingily was a part of his inaugural draft class as head coach. In Stingily’s three seasons under him, he played in 10 games and started four.
He failed to make the roster in 2015 because the Titans chose to rebuild their offensive line depth chart, which included a new draft pick, so the veteran was the odd man out. In spite of the fact that the Steelers were more comfortable with Chris Hubbard as their emergency tackle, having spent the past two seasons under Munchak, that does not mean the team might not be interested in retaining him on a veteran-minimum contract to compete for a spot in camp.