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: John Battle
Experience: 0 Years
John Battle is a safety who came out of LSU as a college free agent in 2019, first signing with the New York Jets, but later serving a stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including spending some time on their practice squad that regular season.
Despite the interest, Tampa Bay did not move to re-sign him, or else Battle perhaps preferred to seek other options. The Steelers signed him to a Reserve/Future contract instead, three days after his deal with the Buccaneers expired.
He has been with the organization now for just shy of 15 months, after having spent the entirely of the 2020 season on their practice squad. Unfortunately, they didn’t get much of a look at him during the offseason last year due to the pandemic.
But he does return to a position that has taken some hits. The Steelers’ top reserve safety, Sean Davis, is not returning after signing elsewhere. Core special teamer Jordan Dangerfield has also not been retained, at least for now. Pittsburgh did sign Miles Killebrew of the Detroit Lions, who is more of a linebacker hybrid, while 2020 seventh-round pick Antoine Brooks looks to make a move this year to lock down a full-time roster spot.
Still, there is something to like about Battle, who was a three-year starter at a Power 5 school. He did have five interceptions, and would be more capable of aligning at free safety than have been the majority of their depth safeties in recent years. But as always with players in a similar position, he has an uphill battle ahead of himself.