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: Tyler Murphy
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 1 Year
Have you forgotten about Tyler Murphy, the former undrafted free agent rookie free agent who converted to wide receiver after spending his collegiate year as a quarterback? He spent two stints on the Steelers’ 53-man roster last year, first as a wide receiver, and then as a quarterback later in the year—surely not something that happens very often.
Murphy was among the players that the team had shown interest in prior to the draft, bringing in him for a visit at the facility, and they signed him after the draft. While they looked at him as a wide receiver, primarily, they also gave him opportunities at quarterback.
He served as a quarterback during the rookie minicamp. He spent stretches during training camp working exclusively with the quarterback group. And in the preseason opener, the team even gave him a few snaps as a sort of Wildcat quarterback, though he did not throw any passes—in fact, they may have all been handoffs, if memory serves.
But with the Steelers beginning the regular season with two players on the suspended list, among them a wide receiver, and among those on the roster a rookie who needed development, Murphy was able to make the initial 53-man roster, knowing that it would be temporary. Whether it would be a two-game or four-game stint was not immediately clear.
It turned out to be a two-game stint, initially, but he actually managed to get on the field in the two-minute drill with the Steelers desperately looking to come back from two scores down. He caught a 16-yard pass that converted a fourth-down play.
After two games, with Le’Veon Bell returning, Murphy was released to make room and reverted back to the practice squad, but he was re-signed to the 53-man roster a month later with injuries mounting at the quarterback position.
The rookie spent two more games on the 53-man roster, for four games in total, in that first game back serving as an active backup to the Steelers’ backup quarterback, who was already replacing their other backup quarterback due to injury, who was signed due to the injury to their other backup quarterback.
Murphy was released again after two games and re-signed to the practice squad again, but after the season, he was the only player from the team’s practice squad that was not retained on a Reserve/Future contract, suggesting that the team didn’t feel compelled to re-sign him, given that he didn’t immediately sign with another team, though did so a couple weeks later.