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: Kevin Rader
Experience: 1 Year
Kevin Rader is an area native, born in Pittsburgh and graduate of Pine-Richland. He played his college ball at Youngstown State in Ohio before signing with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2018. He would not even make the practice squad, however, and spent the season out of football.
The Steelers were evidently interested in him, however, as he was signed to a futures contract the following January, and he’s been a part of the team ever since. He spent all of the 2019 season on the practice squad, and would have done the same this past season if not for a brief stint on the 53-man roster to boot.
After second-year tight end Zach Gentry suffered a knee injury that landed him on injured reserve, Rader was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Despite that, he still wouldn’t play, and in late December, he was waived and re-signed to the practice squad.
Then they elevated him to the 53-man roster for the final game of the season, wherein he logged snaps on offense, and another 12 on special teams, recording three tackles in the process. He was promoted again for the wildcard game, seeing 20 snaps on special teams (and none on offense), notching another tackle.
With Vance McDonald retiring, there is the chance that Rader could move up a bit and at least surpass Gentry as the number three tight end on the depth chart, who in recent years hasn’t even been dressing. But as a blocking-capable special teamer, he would have a much higher chance of dressing, should he make the team, than Gentry had.