The selection of Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft hasn’t quite worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin.
In four seasons as the starting strong safety in Pittsburgh, Edmunds recorded 340 career tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five interceptions, 21 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Those don’t scream first-round draft pick numbers, but that didn’t keep Tomlin from praising the veteran safety Tuesday during his season-ending press conference.
Though the Steelers didn’t pick up Edmunds’ fifth-year option, Tomlin made it sound like he’s a guy that the Steelers would like to bring back in free agency this offseason, as the long-time Steelers’ head coach praised the safety for his ridiculous availability the last four years.
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“You know, he did some really nice things this year. I think the first thing you think about when you think about Terrell Edmunds is availability, and I never want to underscore that,” Tomlin said to reporters Monday, according to video via Steelers.com. “This is a guy that’s been ridiculously available to us, not only this year, but over the course of his career. He was a thousand-snap defender as a rookie. And I think that oftentimes we don’t talk enough about availability. Productivity and things, obviously, he did some good things there, but availability is a big component of it.
“As you mentioned, he is facing free agency and that’s what free agency is. It’s free agency for us, free agency for them,” Tomlin added. “And so we’ll see where the roads lead us, but I am appreciative of what he’s done here and particularly his ability to be available, not only in 2021, but the totality of the time that we’ve been together.”
In four seasons Edmunds missed just one game — the 2020 Week 16 loss on the road to the Cleveland Browns due to shoulder injury. The safety then returned to the field for the Wild Card round loss to the same Browns team one week later, fighting through the shoulder injury.
As a four-year starter, Edmunds played 4,011 snaps on defense, twice cracking 1,000 snaps in 2019 and 2021. On average, Edmunds played 94% of the snaps as a Steeler, and even added 427 career snaps on special teams, showing just how available he could be to the Steelers in a number of different ways.
Tomlin rarely praises individual players the way he did Edmunds on Tuesday, so do not be surprised to see the Steelers retain the young safety on a long-term deal well below his fifth-year option value, keeping the same safety tandem in the Steel City moving forward. Availability is the best ability, as they say, and none are more available than Edmunds has been throughout his career.