To say that the Steelers have had some excellent players throughout their history would be a massive understatement.
Per Steelers.com, the team currently has 24 representatives in the Hall of Fame, and three more, former safeties Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, and former head coach Bill Cowher, will be joining the ranks in the next induction ceremony.
So many decades of rich Steelers’ history have been immortalized in the Hall of Fame, and there’s little doubt more will be fitted for gold jackets in the future. There have long been discussions concerning Pittsburgh greats such as Bill Nunn, Alan Faneca, L.C. Greenwood, Hines Ward, and others who have seemingly been snubbed in the Hall of Fame voting process and deserve a spot among the league’s greatest. However, let’s stop looking at past greats for a second and look at the current Steelers roster.
Are any active Pittsburgh Steelers players on their way to the Hall of Fame? Let’s take a look at five veterans on the Steelers current roster who could end up in Canton after the conclusion of their careers. All of these players have more than seven seasons in the NFL.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
Career Stats: 218 games played, 64.3 completion percentage, 56545 passing yards, 363 passing touchdowns, 191 interceptions
A list ranking current Steeler players’ Hall of Fame qualifications which didn’t start with Roethlisberger would be no list at all. He has the statistics, Super Bowl wins, and enough signature plays and games to make him a lock for the Hall of Fame whenever he retires. Roethlisberger has emerged as the best signal caller of the fabled 2004 draft class, and one of the best quarterbacks of his generation. Fans can debate all day long whether Roethlisberger or Terry Bradshaw is the best passer in Steelers history, but there’s little doubt that ‘Big Ben’ has done more than enough to put himself in the conversation.
Roethlisberger holds countless Steelers records and is in the top 10 all time for most major passing statistical categories. Unless he flames out in a bad way the last few years of his career, Roethlisberger is probably a lock to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and will definitely find his way to Canton regardless.
C Maurkice Pouncey
Career Stats: 121 games played, 121 games started
Career Accolades: 8x Pro Bowler, 2x All Pro
Pouncey is one of the most decorated offensive linemen of his generation. The talented center has long been a stalwart in the middle of the Steelers’ offensive line and has consistently played at a high level throughout his ten years in the league. Hall of Fame voters love accolades, and Pouncey has accumulated a lot, from Pro Bowl nods, to All Pro teams, and even a spot as one of the two centers on the NFL’s All Decade Team.
The one award missing from Pouncey’s resume is a Super Bowl ring. The Steelers actually made it to the big game during Pouncey’s rookie season, but he was injured the game before and wasn’t able to take the field. If Pouncey can garner a Super Bowl victory during his last few years with the team, it could do wonders for his Hall of Fame chances.
Maurkice Pouncey is far from a Hall of Fame lock, and his regressing play last year overshadowed what has been a great career for the former first-round pick. Another aspect which hurts his chances is he isn’t even the best center in his team’s history, a title most would give to greats such as Mike Webster or Dermontti Dawson. A Super Bowl ring would do a lot for Pouncey’s legacy, possibly landing him a spot in the Hall of Fame, and gaining some well-earned respect among his team’s fanbase.
OG David DeCastro
Career Stats: 112 games played, 111 games started
Career Accolades: 5x Pro Bowler, 2x All Pro
Along with Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro has been among the NFL’s best at his position ever since he entered the league in 2012. He doesn’t have quite as good a resume as the Steelers’ center, but with a few more years of high play left in his career, he could soon overtake Pouncey. DeCastro has consistently been ranked as one of the best players on the Steelers throughout his career and is among the top guards in his team’s star-studded history.
David DeCastro’s Hall of Fame chances could be hurt by his lack of an off-the-field personality. He’s always quietly gone about his work with the Pittsburgh Steelers and very rarely finds himself in the center of any drama or storylines. It’s an admirable trait, but it’s kept him from becoming a household name outside of Steelers Nation. Much like Maurkice Pouncey, DeCastro in on the verge of Hall of Fame candidacy and would benefit greatly from a Super Bowl victory.
DT Cameron Heyward
Career Stats: 134 games played, 397 total tackles, 257 solo tackles, 54.0 sacks
Career Accolades: 3x Pro Bowler, 2x All Pro
Cam Heyward might be the biggest mystery on this list. To some, he’s second to only Aaron Donald in terms of interior defensive linemen in the NFL. To others, he’s simply an above-average defensive linemen. His overall numbers aren't exactly eye-popping, but for a 3-4 defensive end/tackle they’re incredible.
The scheme Heyward has been playing in might hinder his Hall of Fame chances, but he’s made the most of it, gaining two All-Pro selections and a trio of Pro Bowls. A slow start to his career also hurt his numbers, but he’s rebounded admirably and become one of the best defensive linemen in the league. Heyward is a great player and an even better man, but he remains incredibly underrated. It’s a common theme on this list, but Heyward could use a Super Bowl ring, as well as a few more dominant years, to have a chance at Canton.
CB Joe Haden
Career Stats: 132 games played, 525 total tackles, 434 solo tackles, 3.0 sacks, 27 interceptions
Career Accolades: 3x Pro Bowler
Haden is the final player on this list, and his Hall of Fame candidacy might be a bit of a stretch. He’s been one of the best corners in the NFL throughout his career, even though his prime was wasted when he was a member of the Cleveland Browns from 2010 to 2016. His numbers are good, but his accolades are lacking, as his Pro Bowl count ties for last on this list to go along with zero All-Pro teams.
While needing a Super Bowl victory has been a talking point for most players on this list, a postseason victory would be first for Haden. The lone playoff game in his career was a disappointing loss to Jacksonville in early 2018 - his first season with Pittsburgh. Haden hasn't had the smoothest NFL ride, but he’s still been a top cornerback throughout his career and has a chance, albeit a slim one, to make the Hall of Fame some day.
He didn't make the All Decade team, but made quite the case to be on it.
Chris Harris— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) April 6, 2020
Im on My All-Decade team.
This list was made to focus on current Steelers players, but another name to watch out for is head coach Mike Tomlin. He’s been one of the NFL’s best since he signed with the Steelers, with one Super Bowl win and zero losing seasons. He still has a way to go to match up with some of the other coaching legends in Canton, but he’s on the right track. If Bill Cowher can make the Hall of Fame, so can Mike Tomlin.
Former Steelers players who recently left the team, such as Steelers sack leader James Harrison and the talented yet troubled Antonio Brown, conceivably have a shot at a gold jacket as well.
Some younger Steelers could also someday make it to the Hall of Fame. Although is seems too early to look that far ahead into their future as many of them haven’t even reached a second contract yet, they will be featured on an upcoming list. So stay tuned.