Steelers’ Vance McDonald Retires From NFL

Vance McDonald announced his retirement on Friday morning. The longtime Steelers tight end says that he will focus on faith and family in the next chapter of his life.

My family and I are so grateful for everything NFL football has provided us in our life—all the memories both good and the difficult, the relationships and friends we’ve made along the way, the life lessons the game provided both me and my loved ones,” McDonald said in a statement. “It’s always been our dream and mission to leverage the platform given us through the NFL to help serve and uplift others along the way, and we will continue to find ways to serve others as we begin this next chapter of our lives. I am proud to retire a Steeler.”

McDonald first entered the league as a second round pick of the 49ers in 2013. In 2017, the Niners shipped him to the Steelers where he would turn in some of his best performances. McDonald’s signature season came in 2018, when he tallied 50 catches for 610 yards and four touchdowns.

“I am appreciative of Vance’s contributions during the last four years of his career that he spent in Pittsburgh,” said head coach Mike Tomlin. “He was a class act on and off the field, leading many of our efforts in the community while also being a voice for our social justice efforts and the community work during the pandemic.”

McDonald leaves with 181 catches, 2,036 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns for his career. We here at PFR wish him the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Sign Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins has a new home. On Thursday, the Steelers agreed to sign the quarterback to a one-year deal, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

[RELATED: Steelers Interviewed Hue Jackson For OC Job]

The Steelers met with the former first-round in the morning and quickly decided to bring him on board. It’s likely a minimum-salary deal for Haskins — or something close to it — so this is about as low-risk as it gets. Haskins was horrendous in Washington, but he was the No. 15 overall pick less than two years ago.

Haskins dazzled evaluators with his arm strength coming out of Ohio State. The cannon is still there, though his decision making — both on and off the field — was questioned in Washington. Head coach Ron Rivera released Haskins after a terrible Week 16 showing. Just one week prior to that, Haskins was photographed maskless at a birthday party.

Now, Haskins has a chance at NFL redemption. He won’t be starting, but he will have an opportunity to learn from one of the best in Ben Roethlisberger.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers Interviewed Hue Jackson For OC Job

The Steelers interviewed former Browns head coach Hue Jackson earlier this week for their offensive coordinator vacancy (Twitter link via Dianna Russini of ESPN.com). However, it doesn’t seem that Jackson will get the job, since quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has been ticketed for a promotion.

[RELATED: Steelers To Promote Matt Canada To OC]

At one point in time, Jackson was regarded as one of the NFL’s top offensive gurus. Then, he went 3-36-1 record across two-and-a-half tumultuous seasons with the Browns and his stock plummeted. The Browns placed much of the blame on Jackson’s shoulders. Jackson, naturally, sees things differently. Jackson has been out of the NFL picture ever since, save for a brief return to the Bengals as an assistant to Marvin Lewis in late 2018.

While his work as a dual head coach/OC with the Browns was ineffective, Jackson did lead the Bengals to a No. 2 ranking in offensive DVOA in 2015, his last season as strictly an offensive play-caller. Jackson won’t make his comeback in Pittsburgh, but other teams could still consider the veteran coach in this cycle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dwayne Haskins To Visit Steelers

Former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins will meet with the Steelers on Thursday (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The former first-round pick could provide quarterback depth and upside for Pittsburgh on a low-cost, low-risk deal. 

The Panthers also kicked the tires on Haskins recently, though that meeting ended without a deal. No one’s expecting greatness from Haskins — at least, not immediately — but he would likely come on a minimum-salary contract.

Before his late-season release, Haskins averaged 6.3 yards per attempt with 12 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. After getting dumped by Washington, Haskins mutually parted ways with agent David Mulugheta. He’s since caught on with Goal Line Football agency and his new reps are searching for his best fit.

Washington had high hopes for Haskins in 2019. Ultimately, his Week 16 performance in 2020 was the final straw. Starting in place of Alex Smith, Haskins completed just 50% of his throws for 154 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was leapfrogged by Taylor Heinicke and responded poorly, prompting head coach Ron Rivera to show him the door.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.