The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Steven Johnson
Position: Inside Linebacker
Experience: 5 Years
For the vast majority of his playing career, which expanded into a fifth season in 2016 with the Steelers, inside linebacker Steven Johnson has been limited to being a special teams contributor, but he did start seven games for the Broncos in 2014, his final of three seasons he spent in Denver before a year in Tennessee in 2015.
The Steelers brought in the veteran special teamer on a simple one-year deal with no guarantee to make the roster, and he didn’t, initially, though only be technicality, because they needed to have Bud Dupree on the 53-man roster before they could place him on injured reserve to be eligible to be designated for return.
Despite the fact that the was quickly brought back after that move, he still spent the first few games of the season on the inactive list as the sixth inside linebacker, but when injuries opened up an opportunity for him to get a helmet, he didn’t relinquish it.
Johnson was active for six games and he recorded six tackles on special teams, also producing a forced fumble that the Steelers recovered for a turnover. Despite the fact that he was inactive for the early games of the season, he already put himself in the team lead for special teams tackles.
It was in that sixth games, however, that the veteran linebacker suffered an injury that was significant enough to end his season, and the Steelers placed him on injured reserve, but they were also quick to re-sign him during the early portions of the offseason as well, showing how much they liked what he brought to the table.
As it currently stands, it looks like there could be an opening for a more significant backup role in 2017 if Vince Williams is indeed going to be the replacement at the buck linebacker position in the starting lineup. Johnson could compete for that position—he does have the most starting experience of any of the current alternatives.