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: Henry Mondeaux
Experience: 2 Years
Henry Mondeaux was on the field for 244 snaps on defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year over the course of 15 games in the regular season. He was promoted to the 53-man roster after Tyson Alualu suffered a season-ending ankle injury in week two, and played in every single game after that.
Originally signed to a Reserve/Future contract at the end of the 2019 season by the Steelers, Mondeaux has spent most of the past two seasons on Pittsburgh’s 53-man roster, logging 26 games, with more than 550 snaps played between defense and special teams.
Every single snap a player in Mondeaux’s position gets, however, is of tremendous value, because any one can be their last opportunity. A roster spot is never guaranteed for a fringe player. But he’s been in the right place at the right time with the right work ethic to be there to get the call up.
He actually did make the initial 53-man roster in 2021, amongst eight defensive linemen, but even that was always going to be temporary, at least in theory. It seemed as though they intended to carry seven during the year, with Mondeaux being the seventh until Stephon Tuitt were to theoretically return.
That, of course, never happened, and then Alualu went down as well, so that opened up not only roster spots but a season-long opportunity. With Carlos Davis also missing most of the season, and then Isaiah Buggs getting benched, it was about as good a circumstance as he could find to get on the field.
He put up 16 tackles and two sacks for his efforts, recovering a fumble as well. But he’s also not somebody that you plan to go into a season with, marking him down for 250 snaps. The fact that he played so much was a telltale sign that the Steelers had availability issues.
He will certainly be back in camp in 2022, but as always, it will be a difficult assignment for him to make the 53-man roster. But as he has learned the past two years, as long as he stays ready, there’s a good chance his opportunity will come again. Even on special teams.