2022 Exit Meetings – S Minkah Fitzpatrick

The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. 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 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.

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 2022 season.

Player: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Position: S

Experience: 5 Years

Guys, I’m starting to think Minkah Fitzpatrick is pretty good. Hear me out.

For one thing, he’s already 20th on the Steelers’ all-time interceptions list with 18 in spite of the fact that he’s only been here for four seasons. Nobody who is ahead of him on that list played fewer than six seasons with the team except for Howard Hartley, who remarkably had 25 interceptions in his four years in Pittsburgh from 1949 through 1952. Hartley is a member of the Steelers’ pre-70s ‘Legends’ team.

I do not apologize for tangents that involve touting great players from the team’s past who might not be household names today. But moving on.

Fitzpatrick picked off six passes this season, including a pick-six. He could have had at least two, and nearly actually had three. He made a diving attempt for the end zone on a near miss in one case against the New York Jets. On the other, it was a game-sealing interception. He could have run it back if he wanted to, but the game was otherwise over.

It’s not just interceptions, of course. He’s the most complete player in the secondary the Steelers have had since Troy Polamalu. He doesn’t play in the box as often (mercifully), but he’s capable of doing that at a high level as a surprisingly sure tackler.

I don’t even know what else to say about him at this point. He’s one of the best defenders in the league, certainly among defensive backs, and it’s a laugh, especially in hindsight, that people really thought he wasn’t deserving of even the Pro Bowl in 2021. His contract extension this past summer was money well spent.

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