Tomlin Says Steelers Pursued New DE Clifton Geathers During Free Agency

With veteran defensive end Brett Keisel now out for the season with a triceps injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to fill his spot on the 53 man roster by signing journeyman defensive end Clifton Geathers, who was most recently with the Washington Redskins. On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin talked about the addition of Geathers, who was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

“We know Clifton,” said Tomlin. “He’s been free and on the market before as an unrestricted free agent. We tripped him and pursued him in free agency. We like his body type, his experience in NFL football. We feel like he’s a guy that has the physical capabilities to help us.

“First, we got to get him up to speed, we got to teach him what to do and check his overall level of conditioning, and things like that. We wont hesitate to start that process, we already have. But in terms of forecasting what he’s capable of doing for us inside the stadium this weekend, we’ll see. That will be determined as we work.

Tomlin said Geathers could see some playing time as early as this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals depending on the status of nose tackle Steve McLendon, who is still trying to overcome a shoulder injury that has forced him to miss several games.

“That question will also be answered as we work throughout the course of the week and look at his ability to work, particularly in pads,” said Tomlin.

The Steelers normally only like to dress five defensive lineman for games, so we’ll have to watch what happens with McLendon as the week progresses. If McLendon can play, the Steelers might be wise to dress Geathers as a sixth defensive lineman just in case.

If Geathers does wind up playing Sunday against the Bengals, it most definitely would be in a reserve role at defensive end as rookie defensive end Stephon Tuitt is now expected to see his playing time increase with Keisel now out for the season.

If McLendon is out once again, Cam Thomas would likely start in his place once again with rookie Daniel McCullers occasionally spelling him.

“I’ve been happy with his performance in spurts,” said Tomlin. “And obviously his contributions have been interrelated to the availability to those around him – our plan with Brett Keisel on a week to week basis. Sometimes Brett only played in sub package, sometimes Brett played situationally and Cam’s work generally mirrored that.

“Obviously with Brett out and Clifton being somewhat of an unknown, that challenges Cam Thomas, but also challenges Stephon Tuitt and we’ll take it to the grass and see those guys’ overall readiness and kind of let that be our guide. But make no mistake, a veteran player, who we acquired in free agency like Cam Thomas, when given a challenge and an opportunity, like a loss of a Brett Keisel, we’ll expect him to be prepared and give us an added contribution.”

  • Leon Mcnair

    Why are they starting cam Thomas anywhere

  • Umbra Aeternus

    So, is Justin Brown or DHB going to be cut if Jarvis comes back?

  • steeltown

    To be fair he has played his best ball all season these last couple weeks… for what it’s worth

  • GoSteelerz

    I don’t think they watch what Cam Thomas actually does… Do they know he is number 96? His “added contribution” will be letting the other team gash us on the ground and getting no pressure up the middle on passing plays… Since they won’t play McCullers, please Steve McClendon, recover fast, we need you!!!!!

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    How long is Thomas’s deal? It’s up after next season correct?

  • steeltown

    Well if their overall evaluation of Geathers is anywhere close to that of Cam Thomas…then….

  • steeltown

    Yes, 2yr deal… doubt he plays it out

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Hope to God Tuitt shows something to close the season and/or progresses over the summer so we can either cut ties with Thomas or keep his ass on the sidelines

  • Rick M

    ‘They pursued him in free agency’??? The guy is with his 7th different NFL team since 2010. What were they doing when they were pursuing him, running backwards? Where’s the barf bag?

  • steeltown

    $2MIL base salary next year… no way im paying him that if im the Front Office

  • Chad H

    I’m throwing out the BS flag on this one.

  • Nicholas Allen Cotner

    Oh hell no! Bye bye Cam!

  • Kevin artis

    Should of gotten Adam Carraker when we had the chance.

  • Jim Underwood

    lol Tell me about it. This FO and staff are really starting to scare me.. Ugh..!

  • afrazier9

    the bs flag is out big time why does he continue to blow smoke up are (chimney) and especially saying cam thomas has been g ood what tape do they look at. Dave is it possible to get a snap count on Cam thomas compared to his tackles i’m pretty sure he might only have 5 tackles at best compared to 500 snaps

  • afrazier9

    any body think Antoine Cason could help us at corner. I really feel it wouldn’t hurt to kick his tires

  • GoSteelerz

    True, he has played better, but like you also said, for what it’s worth, which isn’t much…

  • GoSteelerz

    Never hurts to look, haven’t seen enough of him lately to have a guess if he’d be worth it either way, but a couple years ago he was decent as a starter… At 28 years old, you’d think he’d still have several good years left…

  • NW86

    My guess would be JB gets cut and goes to the practice squad, although Ventrone and Webb are also possibilities.

  • keth naab

    exactly. the degree of suckitude isn’t quite what it was earlier in the season, but we’re still discussing his degree of suckitude, not his degree of competence.

    I won’t be surprised if Geathers ends up getting more playing time than Tuitt sooner rather than later.

  • treeher

    Well, I’m very nervous about McClendon shoulder injury. When they start talking about off-season surgery, you know he’s not gonna be up to snuff for the rest of the year even if he does make it back on the field.

  • treeher

    I really appreciate the black humor of some of the guys on this site. Makes me laugh even when I feel like crying about this dam team.

  • GoSteelerz

    Good point… Crap, we’re really screwed, then… smh

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I’m beginning to wonder if the Steelers will look at putting McCullers in at nose and McClendon (once he’s healthy) in at DE (his natural position, I think). Get size and power in there to push the O-line, right?

    I have to imagine that the sheer push up front would help our linebackers collapse the pocket and (hopefully) rack up a few more sacks. But of course, that’s only a theory.

  • SteelersDepot

    Defensive end is not McLendon’s natural position.

  • Paddy

    Getting tired of Tomlin’s act with the media. Yes the BS is flowing ever freely

  • SteelersDepot

    Care to explain???

  • StrengthOfVictory

    My mistake, then. I thought the Steelers had converted him to a NT after asking him to put on weight. Really, I’m trying to devise a line that doesn’t include either Cam Thomas or an unproven journeyman scrub.

  • Rick M

    Even when he gets back in the line-up, contact seems to re-aggravate the problem. I’m just guessing, but if the Steelers were deeper at Nose Tackle he might have already had surgery. Too bad because we desperately need him on the field.

  • joed32

    You’re right Smith and Hood were both 298.

  • jay

    lol see folks this is the current state of affairs with this team and free agency lets see what we can get at bottom bargain price embrace the suck folks

  • treeher

    You know, like what Thomas’s “real” contribution will be. Not just that, and not just this article, but in general there are some funny guys (and gals) here.

  • daddeeekip

    What he’s only got pushed two yards off the line of scrimmage instead of the usual 3-4 yards.

  • thebulky1cometh

    They won’t play McCullers because he stinks. His size is rendered useless on most plays because he plays high and lazy.

    Has anyone else thought about how bad this defense will be again next season? My gosh- it’s scary to think about

  • Axe Skot

    Seems like the DL evaluation is predicated on their ability to keep their feet during their backpedal.

  • Chad

    You really haven’t watched much, I guess.

  • GoSteelerz

    I’m not sure if you’ve actually been watching McCullers. He has gotten too high a couple times, but usually he holds his lane on runs and gets a good push into the pocket on passes. Cam Thomas usually does neither. Thomas is number 96 and McCullers is number 62. At this point McClendon is still the best of the bunch when healthy, but with him out, I think McCullers is better than Thomas. Plus McCullers has upside, he will improve with experience whereas Thomas will not.

  • thebulky1cometh

    Well, offer a rebuttal. See, I played both high school and college football, and I currently coach high school football. I went to training camp and saw a horrendous athlete in McCullers. He can’t strike with a rising blow, he has awful feet, he doesn’t move down the line well…

    Think about this- this is a team that has struggled to find a NT, and even still McCullers hasn’t seen many snaps. Doesn’t that tell you something? And if you think Can Thomas is the answer, you’re insane.

  • thebulky1cometh

    Valid point about cutbacks- usually because Shazier or Spence were blocked and/or overran their gaps…and our FS fills about as well as a wet tissue.

  • GoSteelerz

    Oh, boy don’t get me started on our secondary… You hit the nail on the head there. For every nice tackle made they probably missed or took the wrong angle on three other opportunities!!!! smh

  • gdeuce

    he was the main culprit on most of Mark Ingram’s long runs

  • gdeuce

    He doesn’t stink, he just needs time to develop. Everyone wants a 6th round rookie to start and play like Hampton, but he needs more time

  • gdeuce

    Adam Carraker is a free agent

  • gdeuce

    what act?

  • gdeuce

    who do you think they should have gotten last year as a free agent?

  • thebulky1cometh

    I have reasonable expectations for players- I don’t expect him to play like a Pro Bowler in his 1st year. He may get marginally better with experience, but he played at Tennessee- he received good coaching in college.

    He has precisely ONE thing going for him: he’s built like a mountain. I want him to succeed because I want the Steelers to improve; however, I’m also a realist and I don’t see it happening.

  • Paddy

    His being short with many of them especially the local beat writers. He’s working on a third straight non winning season. He should be a little more accommodating

  • gdeuce

    accommodating? he owes nothing to the media

  • gdeuce

    what does coaching in college have to do with the NFL? this is an entirely different 3-4 than the one he played in and he needs more than a handful of games to get the grasp of it

  • thebulky1cometh

    In other words, you’re not taking a totally “raw” project. There are only so many minor different techniques that can be shown to him by NFL coaches that he didn’t already see from college coaches. One HUGE thing that I saw in college highlights was his habit of looking for the ball carrier instead of striking out and reacting to the block- maybe steelers coaches can grind that out of him. Anyways, good talk.

  • gdeuce

    he’s as raw as you can get from a technique standpoint, he just got by in college with his pure size

  • gdeuce

    WHAT NOW?