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: Tyson Alualu
Experience: 12 Years
Tyson Alualu’s 12th season in the NFL, and his fifth with the Steelers, consisted of all of 57 snaps, unfortunately. The veteran nose tackle suffered a fractured ankle just a few snaps into the second game of the season, ending his year. He was quickly placed on the Reserve/Injured List, and that was all she wrote, though he continued to remain very involved with the team.
Needless to say, the defense struggled without him, and their substitutes for nose tackle suffered in comparison. Isaiah Buggs was the first man up, and he was eventually benched due to performance before ultimately being released late in the season.
The Steelers eventually added Montravius Adams in the second half of the season, and he logged the majority of the snaps at defensive tackle, but while he is more athletic, he is not quite the stout run defender that Alualu is and had been so critical to their success in that department.
Alualu had only moved to nose tackle in 2020 after the Steelers lost Javon Hargrave in free agency, but he took to it like a duck to water. Of course he had some familiarity with the role, but never on a full-time basis, and he proved in 2020 that he was up to the task.
Even though he will turn 35 years old in May, he has already said that he intends to return for the 2022 season, for which he is already under contract, saying that he doesn’t want tot end his career this way. This was the first significant injury of his career, so there should not be significant concerns about his health due to a freak ankle injury.