From Woodland Hills graduate to safety for the hometown Pittsburgh Steelers and now the New York Giants of the NFL, Ryan Mundy returns home as his current team takes on his former team to kickoff the preseason schedule for both clubs.
Mundy joined the Steelers as a sixth-round draft pick in 2008, coming out of West Virginia University. He appeared in 64 games for Pittsburgh, including five starts. Unfortunately, one of those starts assisted in the arguably early demise of the 2011 Steelers in a playoff loss to the Denver Broncos led by Tim Tebow. Mundy and cornerback Ike Taylor whiffed on the coverage and were burned by a timely play-action touchdown pass to win the game in overtime.
When Troy Polamalu began fighting a bum calf against the Broncos in the 2012 season opener, the Steelers turned to Mundy as the next man up. Mundy once again had a hand in allowing a receiver screen pass to result in a touchdown for new quarterback Peyton Manning.
In Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders, he had a hand - or more specifically, a helmet - in sending receiver Darrius Heyward-Bay to an Oakland hospital. The contact which knocked Heyward-Bey unconscious may not have been malicious in intent, but it was still a late hit drawing another penalty in a foul AFC loss.When the Steelers returned from their bye week, Will Allen began taking Mundy's place as Polamalu's primary backup.
When Mundy's contract expired after the season ended, he tested the waters of free-agency and found a new home in New York. He is currently listed as the Giants second-string free safety behind Stevie Brown, who started 11 of the 16 games he appeared in for New York. Brown recorded 76 total tackles, nabbing eight interceptions, forcing two fumbles and recovering two, as well. However, Brown is not Mundy's biggest concern; he's fighting for a job.
The Giants currently have eight safeties listed on their depth chart. Brown, Mundy, Antrell Rolle and Tyler Sash are the top four, with David Caldwell, Cooper Taylor, Alonzo Tweedy and Will Hill, who is the only player listed at both safety spots - albeit in last at each.
Mundy could see plenty of time against his former teammates, but he won't be the only former Steeler making the trip to Heinz Field. Terrence Frederick, a seveth-round draft pick by the Steelers in 2012 who didn't survive final roster cuts, Frederick is listed as a third-string left side corner, and will be fighting for a roster spot as well.
Both men will be too busy earning jobs in an exhibition game to worry about petty things like revenge against a former-employer; but each will get a chance to catch up with familiar faces in familiar places, while familiarizing themselves with the visitor's locker room.
The Giants take on the Steelers in Pittsburgh at 7:30 pm ET, on Saturday August 10th.
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