In Pittsburgh, tryout players are given a fair shake. Mike Tomlin always preaches it. If you’re in a jersey, you have an opportunity.
Never was that truer than this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
Five players – Devlin Hodges, Damian Prince, Greg Gilmore, Henry Mondeaux, and Tuzar Skipper – were all offered contracts to land on the 90 man offseason roster and presumably, carried into training camp. As far back as our notes go, it’s the highest number of tryout players signed in any rookie minicamp. Here are the results, year-by-year.
OL RJ Prince
WR Damoun Patterson
TE Phazahn Odom
ILB Matt Galambos
RB Cameron Stingily
RB Brandon Brown-Dukes
WR Marcus Tucker
CB Donald Washington
RB Cameron Stingily
NT Mike Thornton
RB Jordan Hall was signed during training camp
LB Terence Garvin
As far back as 2012, the previous high was four. That only happened once and in all other years, no more than two players were inked. It doesn’t appear, at least, the players released were announced with a designation so don’t assume injuries played a role either. They all appeared to be healthy, making it a talent evaluation. That doesn’t speak well to some of the decisions the team made after the draft, two of the UDFAs have already been cut (DL Chris Nelson and Jay Hayes) but that’s another matter for another article. And I’ll have one on the topic soon, if you’re wondering.
Tomlin’s message about the opportunity presented has remained consistent throughout his tenure as Steelers’ head coach.
“I’ve stated it,“ Tomlin said in 2017 of the legitimate chance tryout players have of making it. “But whether or not they believe me is up to them”.
He struck a similar tone this year, leading off about the excitement of giving tryout players a chance to prove they deserve a roster spot.
“It’s an opportunity for some to try out and we are respectful of that and appreciative of their efforts. We are getting a good evaluation of some guys that are here on a tryout basis.”
And they apparently received a solid evaluation too. History isn’t too kind for these players making a 53 man roster, of the above group. Only Garvin ever did. But hey, history wasn’t kind to them getting this far in the first place. We’ll let you know how they look at Latrobe.