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: Pressley Harvin III
Experience: 1 Year
The only punter drafted in 2021 was also one of the very worst punters in all of the 2021 season, that being Pressley Harvin III, a seventh-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Looking to challenge veteran incumbent Jordan Berry, the defending AFC North champions decided to offer him a worthy challenger.
Though Berry was the more consistent performer throughout training camp and the preseason, Harvin continued to promise a more dynamic performance with a bigger leg and better maximum hangtime. The only problem is that his inconsistency issues never improved over the course of his rookie season once he won the job.
There is a tendency among fans to remember the entire season as bad for Harvin, though that was not the case. He actually had a handful of good to very good performances, but the majority of his showings were sub-par, the rest merely inconsistent. Some were, indeed, quite bad.
Harvin did play the year with a heavy heart, as both his father and his grandmother were terminally ill, and would lose their battles during the season. His father passed away on Christmas Day, and he spent the next week or so away from the team.
The Steelers quickly signed Corliss Waitman from the New England Patriots’ practice squad and flew him out to Kansas City on Christmas Day for a game the next day, opting for him because of previous familiarity—he spent the year with them last season on the practice squad.
Though Harvin returned by the end of the following week, the Steelers stuck with Waitman for another game, but the rookie returned to punt in the regular-season finale. It was an awful performance, his worst all season. But despite continuing to roster both punters, they still stuck with him, punting in their postseason game, which was one of his better games of the year.
There’s only one direction to go at this point for Harvin, and that’s up, unless he simply remains where he is. If he does, he likely doesn’t even make the team in 2022. But he does have the potential to improve, and actually be a very good punter, if he can rein in that consistency.
As for Waitman, he was claimed by the Denver Broncos, whose waiver claim officially became active yesterday following the Super Bowl even though it came weeks ago. If he should be let loose again, expect the Steelers to bring him back to compete.