‘It Was Brutal:’ Zach Gentry Discusses College Transition From QB To TE

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry has played a much bigger role for the team over the past couple of years, emerging as a blocking threat while showing off his hands with 38 receptions over the past two seasons. If it was up to Gentry, though, he wouldn’t be in this position at all. He arrived at Michigan as a quarterback, and he told “Good Morning Football” that he didn’t want to switch to tight end, despite Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh telling him he could play tight end in the NFL.

“I had zero intention of playing anything other than quarterback, that’s the only thing I played my entire life. So when Coach Harbaugh approached me about that, it was pretty tough. Just the little things, getting the footwork down, getting used to the hitting, I mean, gosh, it was brutal. Something I didn’t really want to stick with,” Gentry said via video posted to

Gentry said he approached Harbaugh about leaving “3-4 times” but Harbaugh reassured him that he’d be an NFL tight end. Gentry ended up sticking with the plan and was selected by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Gentry has carved out a role as a solid backup tight end. While his snaps will likely be cut into with the addition of tight end Darnell Washington through the draft, the Steelers re-signed Gentry this offseason, so they clearly see some value in having him around. I’m sure despite all the hard work, Gentry is glad he followed Harbaugh’s advice and became a tight end, as he’s now entering his fifth NFL season.

Right now, he’s probably the team’s fourth quarterback on the depth chart behind Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky and undrafted free agent Tanner Morgan. Due to his quarterback experience, Gentry has served as the team’s emergency quarterback, and he’ll probably hold that same role again this season. So maybe in what would undoubtedly be an absolute disaster scenario for the Steelers, Gentry can fulfill his dream of playing quarterback at the NFL level.

Gentry made the appearance on Good Morning Football due to his appearance in the Steelers’ schedule release video, which in full honesty felt a bit lacking compared to the efforts of some other teams. But Gentry, who also stars in the much more entertaining Grillin’ and Chillin’ with his fellow tight end Pat Freiermuth, is an energetic guy with a good personality, so it makes sense that he was chosen to star despite being far from the top of relevancy among players. He seems like a great locker room presence, and even if he doesn’t play as much in 2023, I’m glad Gentry is back with the Steelers.

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