Steelers release former number two tight end and draft pick Zach Gentry

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

Sorry, Steelers fans, but 'Grillin' and Chillin' will be no more... at least not with Zach Gentry. Less than two hours before the NFL cut-down deadline, the Pittsburgh Steelers have officially released veteran tight end Zach Gentry, Brooke Pryor of ESPN reports.

Gentry was a former fifth-round pick of the Steelers back in the 2019 NFL Draft. Though the Steelers swung and missed on players like LB Devin Bush and CB Justin Layne in 2019, Gentry proved to be well worth the fifth-round selection that Pittsburgh originally spent to acquire him.

Gentry dressed for just 6 total games over his first two NFL seasons in 2019 and 2020, but over the past two years, he has suited up for all 34 games -- being credited for 25 starts during this time, per Pro Football Reference.

Despite his 6'8'' and 265-pound frame, Gentry wasn't much of a threat in the receiving game due to his limited athletic traits. He would finish his four-year stint with the Steelers recording just 39 receptions on 39 targets for 303 yards (7.8 yards per reception. Gentry never recorded a touchdown in the regular season.

Though he didn't offer much in the receiving game, Gentry was a fine blocker thanks to his frame, size, and length. He acted as a quality in-line 'Y' tight end to pair with the much more versatile Pat Freiermuth over the past few years.

The decision to release Gentry shows that the Pittsburgh Steelers are comfortable enough deploying rookie Darnell Washington as their number two tight end. Washington flashed in the preseason but still has plenty to work on. Like Gentry, his massive frame should help him find success; however, Washington is significantly more talented as a prospect overall.

Now it certainly looks like the Steelers are going to roll with just three tight ends/fullbacks in 2023 with Freiermuth, Washington, and Connor Heyward. Many of us predicted that Zach Gentry would be part of the plan at least early in the 2023 season and would make the initial Steelers roster, but that won't be the case.

Gentry had a fun-loving personality and many fans knew him for his video segments of 'Grillin and Chilin' where he and Pat Freiermuth would sit down with a guest and grill them with questions. There's a chance Gentry could return to the practice squad, but wherever he lands, we wish him the best of luck in the future.