Kelvin Beachum has been in the NFL now for 11 seasons and has played for four different franchises. In no city did the tackle play longer, however, than Pittsburgh, the Steelers drafting him in the seventh round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Due once again to being an unrestricted free agent after completing his latest contract with the Arizona Cardinals, the 33-year-old let it be known that he has every intention of continuing to play, and continuing to start. Speaking with the local 93.7 The Fan, he also said that in one aspect, no other city has compared to the Steel City.
“Just how important it was to the fans and to the community, how important the Steelers were” was the biggest difference in his experience. “I haven’t had that type of rabid fandom since I’ve left Pittsburgh, and I’ve played in some good places, but the fandom, the avidness, and the true community that you have there in Pittsburgh, there’s nothing like it in the world”.
Beachum eventually earned the starting left tackle job with the Steelers early in his second season. He held that job until he suffered a torn ACL six games into the final year of his rookie contract. They did not try to re-sign him after finding Alejandro Villanueva to be a suitable alternative, and for much cheaper, over the final 10-plus games.
He signed a five-year, $45 million contract in 2016 with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, but it was structured as having an option year after the first season to pick up the rest of the contract. They opted not to, and in 2017 he signed a three-year, 24 million contract with the New York Jets, which he completed.
He has since spent the past three years in Arizona, and has started every game of his career since first entering the starting lineup on a full-time basis four games into his second season, now with 147 starts and counting. He started all 17 games in 2022, logging 1180 snaps.
In fact, he has tallied 9696 career offensive snaps since entering the league, of which 2574 were in the black and gold of the Steelers. Playing in front of the Heinz Field crowd, and living in that community, Beachum said, was on another level than that which he experienced in Jacksonville, New York, and Jacksonville.
While he did not rule out the possibility of ‘coming home’ to Pittsburgh, he was also adamant that he was still a starter, and he believed the Steelers have two good young tackles in Chukwuma Okorafor and Dan Moore Jr. He played for the league minimum in 2020 on a one-year contract before signing a two-year, $4 million deal in 2021, so it will be interesting to see what his market is like now.