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 the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
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 2021 season.
Player: Christian Kuntz
Experience: 1 Year
Now things are going to get real interesting. It’s long snapper time. As something of a surprise, the Steelers decided to go with first-year long snapper Christian Kuntz this offseason, choosing him over Kameron Canaday, who had been the team’s starter at the position for the previous four seasons.
Kuntz is a Pittsburgh native educated at Duquesne, originally going undrafted in 2017. A multi-sport athlete, he played outside linebacker on the football field before learning the craft of long snapper after tearing his ACL.
Though he came into the league looking to make it on the edge, he started to concentrate more on long snapper once he was signed and cut by the New England Patriots in 2017. He cycled through more teams before landing with his hometown team in the Summer of 2019, playing linebacker, even recording a sack in the preseason.
The following year, he would play in the XFL as a long snapper; when the league folded in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Steelers signed him again, this time focusing more on special teams. Though he was cut in August, he was re-signed during the year to the practice squad.
Since then, he’s only been unemployed for a couple of weeks, once in December 2020 and once in January 2021 due to some roster shuffling. He beat out Canaday during the 2021 offseason and won the job.
As for his performance, I confess that I’m no expert in dissecting the nuances of the long snapper position. I thought he was no more inaccurate than was Canaday. He looked the part of a long snapper, not as a defensive player playing long snapper. Now that he is able to concentrate solely on the role, he should hopefully grow into a consistent performer.