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2020 Player Exit Meetings – TE Zach Gentry

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: Zach Gentry

Position: TE

Experience: 2 Years

Though he certainly looks the part, Zach Gentry has yet to demonstrate that he is capable of being an NFL tight end. While he has had few opportunities to do so inside of stadiums so far in his young career, the coaches see him in practice—and they have consistently decided that they would rather dress only two tight ends rather than dress him.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for the 2019 fifth-round pick, who soon after starting to get playing time last year due to Vance McDonald testing positive for Covid-19 and missing time, suffered a knee injury and was placed on the Reserve/Injured List in late November.

By that point, he had logged time in exactly two games, failing to register even a target in the passing game. He played 20 offensive snaps in all, and another 11 on special teams, after seeing time in four games as a rookie (again, due to injury) for 49 snaps.

After Gentry was injured, the Steelers filled his roster spot with Kevin Rader, another tight end who had been on the practice squad since the beginning of the 2019 season. Rader at the very least showed more as a blocker.

With McDonald retiring, Eric Ebron is the only tight end of note, so clearly the Steelers have to address the position, likely in the draft. One has to seriously wonder if this is as far as Gentry gets, given his lack of development up to this point, although he could always be retained on the practice squad even if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster in 2021.

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