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: Miles Killebrew
Experience: 6 Years
The Steelers signed former Lions safety Miles Killebrew on the cheap last year, bringing him in on a one-year deal on a veteran salary benefit contract. The fact that it was not immediately clear whether he was being signed as a linebacker or a safety makes it pretty clear what he was being brought in to do, which was play special teams.
And that’s what he did. Of course, the defining moments of his season were his two blocked punts, the first of which came in the season opener and proved critical, with Ulysees Gilbert III scooping the ball and scoring in an unlikely road win over the Buffalo Bills.
Most special teamers go their entire careers without blocking two punts. It’s just not an incredibly easy thing to do. Doing it twice in one season is pretty special—and very unlikely to be repeated. But Killebrew delivered all-around solid special teams play on all four major coverage and return units.
That’s why he was rewarded with a new two-year contract this offseason, the Steelers making sure that they keep him on board. He has established himself as a core player on special teams, logging 300-plus snaps, and he figures to continue to do more of the same going forward.
He may even end up a special teams captain one day, though this year it figures to be Derek Watt. Whether or not he’ll earn a more solid defensive sub-package role is another matter. But they are quite thin at safety right now, with just Tre Norwood, Donovan Stiner, and himself behind Minkah Fitzpatrick.