5 players most fans will forget wore a Steelers jersey in 2023

A look at five players who Steeler fans will surely forget played for their favorite team in 2023.

Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The 2023 season was about as up-and-down season as it can get. The team started 6-3 before dropping four of their next five games. All of the losses during that stretch except for the Cleveland Browns were to teams who did not make the playoffs. Two of the forgettable losses were to teams picking the top five in this year's NFL draft.  

The Steelers would battle back in typical Mike Tomlin fashion finish above .500 at 10-7 and sneak into the 7th seed in the AFC playoffs. Their season would end abruptly at the hands of the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs.

Like any season, there are plenty of injuries and moves within the organization that can flip a roster on its head. The 2023 season was no different.

Many draft picks and free agent signings ignited optimism about the 23’ season that hasn’t been felt since the retirement of Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger.

While at least three of the Steelers' early draft picks look like they will pan out just fine in the NFL, many free-agent deals along with contract extensions did not live up to the same hype.

With in-season coaching changes, three different starting quarterbacks, and players getting called out of retirement to replace injured guys, there will be a lot of players years down the road fans will forget that wore a jersey for the Steelers in 2023.

Will you be able to remember these 5 players when discussing the middle-of-the-road 2023 season?

Allen Robinson, WR

The 30-year-old wideout was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams last offseason via trade. Robinson was drafted by the Jaguars in 2014, while his sophomore campaign in 2015 was his best to date, posting career highs in yards, and touchdowns, and being selected to his first and only Pro Bowl.

Robinson was coming off two years in which Robinson only played 22 games for both the Rams and Bears due to injuries. Hopes were high for Robinson if he could stay fully healthy for an entire season. He did play all 17 regular season games for Pittsburgh; however, his production was surely forgettable.

He would finish the season with a mere 280 yards receiving on 34 catches and zero touchdowns. While nobody expected a 1,000-year season from Robinson, 280 yards and zero touchdowns were not what Omar Khan and the front office expected when they traded for him back in April of last off-season. While an argument can be made, that he was not put into a great position with both below-average play calling and Quarterback play, his production this year was just not enough to be rememberable.

Chukwuma Okorafor, RT

Maybe nobody on the 2023 Steelers had a more personally forgettable year than Chuks Okorafor. Chuks was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft out of Western Michigan. He would make his first start of his career in week 10 of the 2019 season and ended up starting just under 60 games for the Steelers in five years.

After mid-level play, the Steelers decided to extend Okorafor's contract in the 2022 off-season to a three-year, 29-million-dollar deal. Fast forward two short years, and he has recently been released.

The writing was on the wall for either Dan Moore Jr, (Starting left tackle) or Chuks himself after the Steeles moved up in the 2023 draft to select Broderick Jones, the highly touted Tackle out of Georgia. While many considered Jones as the replacement for Moore Jr as he played most of his career at left tackle, a comment made by Chucks behind closed doors would ultimately get him benched in week 9.

What exactly this comment was that prompted this fiery response from Coach Tomlin was unknown for weeks until a report from DK Pittsburgh Sports claimed Chuks stated the team should have just kneeled the rest of the game. The game he was referring to was the Jaguars game, in which the Steelers were down 17-3 at one point and ended up losing 20-10. Tomlin did not tolerate these comments and he would be benched the rest of the season and released this offseason.

The play by the talented rookie in his place makes most fans forget about Chuks Okorafor in the 2023 season.

Gunner Olszewski, WR/KR

In just a simply horrific season, Gunner Olszewski had the worst season of his young career with his play in the 2023 season. Gunner went undrafted before inking a deal with the Patriots before signing a 2-year, 4.2-million-dollar contract with the Steelers in the 2022 offseason. The signing came shortly after Olszewski earned All-Pro recognition in 2020 for his special teams play.

However, that All-Pro caliber play was nowhere to be found as he fumbled on four out of 28 touches for the Steelers before being released in week 6. He had many plays that left Steelers fans scratching their head, including his fumble in week five against the Ravens that almost let the game slip from their fingertips.

He also fielded a kickoff inside the Steelers' ten-yard line while the ball was surely heading out of bounds which would have resulted in a penalty and the ball being placed at the 40-yard line. A play that cost the Steelers 30 yards in field position.

It was also a play Coach Tomlin wanted to forget, as when he was asked about the bonehead play, he commented back "Sometimes I don't ask questions because I do not want to hear the excuses."

It wasn't just his play in 2023 that was forgettable, but his entire tenure in Pittsburgh. He was brought in to be a depth player at receiver while controlling most of the return duties. However, he would manage just 133 total return yards, both punt and kick return, with no touchdowns. In the receiving game, he accounted for 6 catches, for 53 yards, and again, zero touchdowns.

It is safe to say Gunner will surely be forgotten when people talk about the 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mitch Trubisky, QB

The Mitch Trubisky era in Pittsburgh was very short-lived as he was released recently after he made two starts for the Steelers this past season. Trubisky was brought in as the bridge quarterback last off-season before the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett in the first round of the 2022 draft.

Mitch only threw four touchdowns this season while tossing five interceptions, most coming at crucial times in the game. He only threw for eight touchdowns in his tenure as a Steeler and ten interceptions overall. Needless to say, his time at Pittsburgh was more than forgettable.

This season was a roller coaster ride for Steeler Quarterbacks, as the team saw three different players heading the offense Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph, and Mitch Trubisky. After Pickett went down with an ankle injury suffered in week 13, Mitch was called upon to head the group and went on to lead the team to three straight losses. All three against non-playoff teams.

His below-average play would allow Mason Rudolph to be propelled to the starting role and they never looked back. Mitch would go from QB2-QB1-QB3 in a matter of weeks.

Mitch overall has had an up-and-down career, being selected in the top five in the 2017 draft to the Bears. From making a Pro Bowl to being the backup Quarterback for two organizations. He surely will find another job as a backup, but his time at Pittsburgh will not be remembered well, if at all.

Anthony McFarland, RB/KR

While McFarland was never set to be the starting running in 2023, the organization was hopeful he could contribute to the team in some fashion, whether offensively or on special teams. Sadly, neither of these was the case for the former 4th round pick from Maryland.

The Steelers selected McFarland in 2020, and the start at the time was James Conner. McFarland was set to back Conner and eventually, maybe take over as RB1. However, lack of production and injuries prevented this from happening and it didn't take the Steelers long to go in a different direction as the very next year the Steelers selected Najee Harris with their first pick in the 2021 draft.

McFarland has stuck around and paid his dues, this was supposed to be the year he gets acclimated somewhat into this team. He does present something neither Jaylen Warren nor Najee Harris do, pure speed. He did run a 4.44 40 time and has proven the ability to be a valuable returner and pass catcher out of the backfield. With all that being said, the production simply was never there this year. While Warren and Harris dominated the backfield as expected, McFarland only returned six kicks for 164 yards and zero touchdowns.

He did miss some time again this year being on the IL after suffering a knee injury in week 1, however, he only appeared in three games all season. His tenure which has been wrecked with injuries, will not be remembered.

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