Steelers News

Steelers TE Vance McDonald Has Announced His Retirement

The Pittsburgh Steelers now have one less tight end under contract for the 2021 season as of Friday morning as veteran tight end Vance McDonald is retiring, according to the team.

McDonald, who was acquired by the Steelers in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in August of 2017, caught 117 passes for 1,170 yards and eight touchdowns in his four seasons with the Steelers in the 53 games he played in.

“My family and I are so grateful for everything NFL football has provided us in our lifeโ€”all the memories both good and the difficult, the relationships and friends we’ve made along the way, the life lessons the game provided both me and my loved ones,” said McDonald via a statement. “It’s always been our dream and mission to leverage the platform given us through the NFL to help serve and uplift others along the way, and we will continue to find ways to serve others as we begin this next chapter of our lives. I am proud to retire a Steeler.”

McDonald was selected originally by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the 55th overall selection out of Rice. He spent four seasons in San Francisco before getting a fresh start in Pittsburgh after he was traded shortly before the start of the 2017 season.

McDonald was scheduled to earn $5.2 million in 2021 and that’s the amount of cap space the Steelers will now save with the tight end retiring prior to his roster displacement.

The Friday retirement of McDonald leaves the Steelers tight end room with Eric Ebron, Zach Gentry, Kevin Rader, Charles Jones, and Dax Raymond. Gentry is coming off knee surgery while Rader only dressed for a few games in 2020 and played minimal snaps. Jones and Raymond signed Reserve/Future contracts on Thursday with the former being on the Steelers practice squad roughly half of the 2020 season.

“I am appreciative of Vance’s contributions during the last four years of his career that he spent in Pittsburgh,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in a statement. “He was a class act on and off the field, leading many of our efforts in the community while also being a voice for our social justice efforts and the community work during the pandemic. I wish he and his family nothing but the best in his retirement and his continued work to be a pillar in the community.”

McDonald is the Steelers nominee for the 2020 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. Every NFL team names a Man of the Year nominee, and they are eligible to be the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide. The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service, as well as his playing excellence.

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