While the selection of Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft hasn’t quite worked out for the Pittsburgh Steelers and head coach Mike Tomlin.
In four seasons as a starting strong safety in Pittsburgh, Edmunds recorded 340 career tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five interceptions, 21 passes defensed and one fumble recovery. Those don’t scream first-round pick numbers, but that didn’t stop Tomlin from praising the veteran safety Tuesday during his season-ending news conference.
Though the Steelers didn’t take Edmunds’ fifth-year option, Tomlin made it sound like he’s a guy the Steelers would like to bring back to free agency this offseason, as the Steelers’ head coach praised the safety of their ridiculous availability the last four years.
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“You know, he did some really good things this year. I think the first thing you think of when you think of Terrell Edmunds is availability, and I never want to stress that,” Tomlin told reporters Monday. according to video via Steelers.com. “This is a guy who has been ridiculously available to us, not just this year, but throughout his career. He was a thousand-play defender as a rookie. And I think we often don’t talk enough about availability. Productivity and stuff obviously did some good things there, but availability is a big component of that.
“As you mentioned, he’s facing free agency and that’s free agency. It’s free agency for us, free agency for them,” Tomlin added. “And we’ll see where the roads take us, but I appreciate what he’s done here and particularly his ability to be available, not just in 2021, but the entirety of the time we’ve been together.”
In four seasons, Edmunds missed just one game: the 2020 Week 16 loss on the road to the Cleveland Browns due to a shoulder injury. The safety then returned to the field for the wild-card round loss to the same Browns team a week later, battling the shoulder injury.
As a starter for four years, Edmunds played 4,011 snaps on defense, twice hitting 1,000 snaps in 2019 and 2021. On average, Edmunds played 94% of the snaps as a Steeler and even added 427 snaps in his career on special teams, which just goes to show how available he could be to the Steelers in a few different ways.
Tomlin rarely praises individual players like he did with Edmunds on Tuesday, so don’t be surprised to see the Steelers retain the young safety on a long-term deal well below the value of his fifth-year option, keeping the same tandem of safeties at Steel City. moving forward Availability is the best skill, as they say, and none is more available than Edmunds throughout his career.