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Mike Tomlin gives blunt explanation as to why the team acquired Vance McDonald via trade

The Pittsburgh Steelers acquired TE Vance McDonald via trade Tuesday, and Mike Tomlin didn’t mince words when explaining why.

NFL: New England Patriots at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Tomlin had to know he was walking into a mountain of questions when he took the podium for his weekly press conference leading up to the Steelers fourth preseason game after the team traded a 2018 NFL Draft fourth round pick to the San Francisco 49ers for Tight End Vance McDonald and a 2018 fifth round pick.

But, as only Tomlin can, he stood there and was as blunt as can be about why the team made the trade. There was no “coach speak”, just pure honesty.

When asked why the team traded for McDonald, Tomlin stated because the current crop of tight ends on the roster, “hadn't been consistently varsity enough.”


That sound you heard was the deflating egos of David Johnson, Jesse James and Xavier Grimble.

Now, Tomlin spoke about how McDonald is an “NFL-capable player”, but ultimately was brought to be a ‘player’ on the roster. The team isn’t going to trade a 4th round draft pick away for a player who won’t even make the team.

With that said, the acquisition certainly means the end of the road for someone. Who that will be has yet to be determined, but with cuts looming the pressure to perform has to be as high as any heading into the fourth, and final, preseason game.

More nuggets from Tomlin’s press conference:

  • If you were like me, you were watching the third preseason game against the Colts wondering why Martavis Bryant was playing well into the third quarter. Well, it was because he asked, according to Tomlin. Tomlin spoke about Bryant’s openness about knocking the proverbial rust off, and he requested to stay in the game after halftime. Explains a lot, but Tomlin could have told him to take a seat and relax too.
  • Mike Tomlin was asked how he will evaluate Senquez Golson as roster cuts loom, and Tomlin’s response was classic. “What is there to evaluate, he hasn’t even practiced.” Well then...
  • For those wondering who is in and out vs. the Panthers, Tomlin said he hasn’t made that decision yet, as it is the team’s first day of work heading into Thursday night’s game. It is safe to assume you won’t see many starters at all in the preseason finale.