It would take something pretty eye-catching to stand out more than just the sheer physical size of the massive Clifton Geathers. Listed at 6-foot-8, 325 pounds, he gives Steelers rookie defensive lineman Dan McCullers a run for the team's size title.
But that wasn't the most interesting thing about him, according to SB Nation Eagles' site, Bleeding Green Nation.
Geathers, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010 by the Cleveland Browns, won the site's Most Bizarre Tweeter award in 2013, obviously something all players, Eagles or otherwise, strive to earn. His size and his sense of humor don't outweigh his bloodlines, though. You may remember Jumpy Geathers, Clifton's uncle and one of those journeyman players John Madden always raved about back in his broadcasting days.
Clifton remains in the NFL, one of three brothers playing in the league. He joins Robert Jr., a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals (Pittsburgh's Week 14 opponent) and Kwame Geathers, who is on injured reserve with the San Diego Chargers. Robert Sr. also played in the NFL.
They're all incredibly large men who are or were defensive linemen.
So why has Clifton already been on eight different NFL teams? Along with the Browns, Eagles and now the Steelers, Geathers has played for the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and most recently, the Washington Redskins. But he hasn't actually played a whole lot, and the varying nature of all of the styles of defense from these franchises suggests his role as a mercenary has some value.
At the very least, the Steelers had a need for a veteran defensive end in the absence of Brett Keisel, who was put on IR with a torn triceps on Monday. While it would appear more likely that either Cam Thomas or rookie Stephon Tuitt will start, and the two will take the bulk of the snaps opposite Cameron Heyward when the Steelers face the Bengals on Sunday, Geathers may find himself competing for playing time this year and perhaps a roster spot next year.
The future of the Steelers' defensive line was thought to be brighter than its present state, but with two defensive linemen (Josh Mauro and Nick Williams) plucked from their practice squad last month, and now Keisel's injury, Geathers finds himself with an opportunity to create value in his performance.
It would appear McCullers is being molded into a nose tackle/defensive end utility player, and Tuitt most likely will be the team's starting defensive end in 2015. Thomas, owed $2 million next year in the last year of his contract, can't be expected to remain with the club after a rough 2014 season. The Steelers have Ethan Hemer and recently-signed Joe Kruger on their practice squad, giving them little relative experience across the board. Keisel is technically under contract for 2015, but considering his injury and his age, he shouldn't be expected back either.
Perhaps it's a good time for Geathers to show what he can do in practice and possibly even on the field. Experience is critical on the defensive line in this defense, and he certainly has played for a lot of different teams. Maybe this will be his last one.