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2023 Steelers Exit Interviews: Darnell Washington and Rodney Williams

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2023 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2024.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, and the fact I have done these articles in the past, we thought we would do the same here at Steel Curtain Network. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies and those heading into free agency, we will attempt to do the same to some degree. To start, we will pair the most recent draftees with another player at the same position (if possible) as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are tight ends Darnell Washington and Rodney Williams.


Darnell Washington

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Tight end
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2026
Contract Details: $1,216,798 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $670,314 in dead money if released and save $546,484.
Games played in 2023: 17 regular season
Games started in 2023: 7 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 511 (offense), 141 (special teams)
PFF score: 47.4 (67th of 71)
Notable stats: During the regular season, Washington had 7 receptions for 61 yards.

Notes: Not used often as a receiver, Darnell Washington actually played more offensive snaps than Pat Freiermuth. But while Freiermuth finished the season with 47 targets (lower than what Steelers fans would like to see), Washington had only 10. Some believe Washington could ultimately end up as an offensive tackle, but others are excited to see if he would have an expanded role as a receiver in the Steelers offense in 2024. In order for that to happen, Washington does have to improve his route running. Even if this does not occur, Washington will continue to be the Steelers best option as a blocking tight end.


Rodney Williams

Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Position: Tight end
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2024
Contract Details: $915,000 salary cap hit for 2024. Would cost the Steelers $0 in dead money if released and save $915,000.
Games played in 2023: 13 regular season
Games started in 2023: 0 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 55 (offense), 189 (special teams)
PFF score: 45.8 (DNQ for ranking); 67.9 for special teams
Notable stats: During the regular season, Williams had no receptions on 2 targets but had 6 special teams tackles.

Notes: After spending the 2022 season and the first four weeks of 2023 on the Steelers practice squad, Rodney Williams was brought onto the 53 man roster and never relinquished the spot. Even as the Steelers fourth tight end, Williams was never inactive and saw action in every game on special teams. An extremely pleasant surprise in training camp, Williams is back with the Steelers next season and has a chance to earn a spot on the roster yet again. With his quality play on special teams, Williams checks the boxes needed to be a player on the roster at the bottom of his positional depth chart.


Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Broderick Jones & Chuks Okorafor
Joey Porter Jr. & Levi Wallace
Keeanu Benton & Montravius Adams

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