The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks a slight improvement from the past two seasons, during which they did not even qualify for the playoffs altogether. They have now done four seasons without securing a victory beyond regular season play.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
They did manage to go 12-4 during the regular season, and secured their first AFC North title since 2017, posting a new franchise record by opening the season with 11 consecutive wins, but of course it all fell apart after that. Their only victory after that required a 17-point comeback.
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 2020 season.
Player: Vince Williams
Experience: 8 Years
There probably aren’t too many players in the NFL who better personify what it is to be a team player or to play with the love of the game than Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams, who just wrapped up his eighth season in the NFL since being selected in the sixth round out of Florida State back in 2013.
The second-longest-tenured defenders remaining on the team behind Cameron Heyward (though Joe Haden and Tyson Alualu have been in the league longer), Williams has been yo-yo’ed in and out of the starting lineup over the past several seasons, but has never complained.
This past season, he started 14 of 14 games, missing some time due to Covid-19, finishing the year with 70 tackles, including a career-high 14 for loss. He also added three sacks and four quarterback hits, along with two fumble recoveries, which were a bit of a rare commodity for the defense in 2020.
One of the most underrated downhill linebackers in the league, Williams continues to grind it out year after year, and always plays with a passion, even when he is playing on special teams, which has become infrequent.
Still, the Steelers are in a tight spot, and his name has been brought up by some beat writers as a potential salary cap casualty. Devin Bush will be back at the position in 2021, as will Robert Spillane and Ulysees Gilbert III. They could also potentially consider swapping Williams out for Avery Williamson, whom they acquired via trade midseason.
Williams have been through all of this before, however, with the speculation about his being demoted or even cut, and yet he’s always found his way back to where he belongs. I certainly wouldn’t bet against his being back out there again in 2021 at the age of 31.