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‘I Need A Damn Touchdown’: Zach Gentry Remembers Near Misses As He Seeks His First Score

Zach Gentry came out of high school as a well-recruited quarterback, landing at Michigan. He exited the school as a developing pass-catching tight end. Four years into his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s now their blocking tight end.

That’s not a role he ever envisioned for himself, even if it’s one he’s come to embrace. But that’s not to say that he doesn’t want to be more involved in the passing game. Like everyone else, he feels very confident in his abilities, he said on the Steel Here podcast. He had one gripe in particular, though.

I really feel like I can still get it done. I need a damn touchdown”, he lamented. “I mean, my first ever game in the preseason I scored a touchdown and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be the man!’. So I need one”.

Gentry wasn’t exactly a scoring juggernaut in college, finishing his career with four touchdowns. He also only caught 49 total balls, including 32 as a senior for 514 yards. But he was a project, and the Steelers knew that going in.

But they also knew that his strength at the time was as a receiver. They were going to turn him into a blocker anyway because he had the frame for it. It took them three years, but they managed to do it, and they hope to retain him in free agency for that role. But it’s not as though his number is never called.

“We’ve called a couple of those plays, too”, he said, where he was the primary target in the red zone. “There’s been a shitload of games where I’m down there and we call something for me and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is it. I’m getting in the end zone and I’m blacking out and acting like an idiot’”.

It just doesn’t always work out. He recalled one example from last season against the New Orleans Saints. His assignment was to fake a run block on end Cameron Jordan and work out into the flat, but Jordan didn’t bite.

“I asked him after the game, I’m like ‘I thought that was my big touchdown, what are you doing?’. He was like, ‘I just had a feeling’. I’m like ‘Son of a bitch, man! I can’t get anything past you’. I can’t get into the damn end zone. It’s unbelievable”.

In case you were wondering, he did say that if he finally gets into the end zone, he’s just going to punt the ball into the crowd. He’s run scoring scenarios through his head so many times over the past four years that he’s given up planning any kind of celebrations. It’s just making the ball suffer.

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