Steelers rookie fullback retires, Derek Watt reunion becomes possible

  • Monte Pottebaum hangs up his cleats before his first NFL game
  • Could Derek Watt be on speed dial?

Steelers, Derek Watt
Steelers, Derek Watt / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Steelers had had unexpected retirement over the weekend. On Sunday, undrafted rookie fullback, Monte Pottebaum, announced his retirement from the National Football League. Pottebaum was an early fan-favorite at Steelers training camp, as the former Iowa standout was known for his road-grading demeanor.

Pottebaum could be easily recognized by the blond mullet flowing out of the back of his helmet. With Pittsburgh planning to play hard-nosed, smashmouth football in 2023, many were hoping that Pottenbaum could be paving the way for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren on the ground. His recent and unexpected retirement confirms that this will not be the case.

As Pottebaum hangs up his cleats, veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander was lacing his up to take the practice field in Latrobe for the first time. With this exchange and the recent release of offensive lineman, Jarrid Williams, the Steelers could look to replace Pottenbaum on the roster... and we know just the guy.

Could Derek Watt reunite with the Steelers?

In today's NFL, not every team even carries a fullback on the roster. According to Pro Football Focus, there were only 19 fullbacks who saw the field on offense last year. Derek Watt was one of them. Though he mustered up just 78 offensive snaps in 2022, Watt technically earned the highest grade among all NFL fullbacks last season.

Watt isn't known for being an impact player on offense, and at 30 years old, that isn't likely to change suddenly. Still, the familiarity could be enticing for Pittsburgh. In his career, Watt has compiled over 2,000 snaps on special teams. Additionally, he has been a team captain in the past, thanks to his ability in this department.

Adding the depth would be nice, but would Derek Watt be willing to jump on the Steelers roster this August knowing that a spot on the team is far from guaranteed? That becomes the question. Though Connor Heyward plays more of an H-back role, the young chess piece wears multiple hats and has been impressive since he stepped in the door.

In the odd chance that both Heyward and Watt happened to make the roster, it stands to reason that Watt would see very little usage on offense, barring an injury. With the depth of the tight end position and with true fullbacks becoming a dying breed, it isn't essential that the Steelers have one on the roster.

At this point, the Pittsburgh Steelers may simply elect to move forward with the players they have. Watt has been a quality special teams player since joining his brother, but his NFL journey could soon be coming to an end. With Monte Pottebaum retired, we can't rule out a Derek Watt reunion in Pittsburgh, but it still seems unlikely.