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Steelers All 90: Kendrick Green Is Running Out Of Time



Steelers Kendrick Green

When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Kendrick Green in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the team thought they drafted Maurkice Pouncy’s replacement. After a rough first year, the team swiftly moved on from their mistake. The Steelers signed Mason Cole in free agency, who started all 17 games for the team in 2022.

After Green lost the left guard battle in training camp last year, he recognized that he has a long way to go before being a starting-worthy player.

“I need to take leaps and bounds,” Green said. “Really, I need to work on just playing ball. I need to be stronger and play more aggressively. I have to be better.”

While nobody likes to admit that they are wrong, Mike Tomlin had no remorse when showing Green his mistakes last training camp. Green said that while it does not feel good to be singled out, he understood why it happened and that is because he put bad film on tape.

“Coach T had us up on the board, and me specifically, a lot during the team meeting,” Green said. “That doesn’t feel good at all.”

One person that thinks the Steelers should not give up on the third-year player just yet is his predecessor, Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey was actually upset when hearing that the Steelers were benching Green after just one season.

“He needs time to develop. I mean he’s a little bit shorter. Obviously, he comes from a smaller school. I mean sometimes guys need time to develop,” Pouncey said. “I hate when you throw guys in there and they don’t develop as quickly and you think they’re not good players. Like how the hell did we draft him? We’ve seen something in him that the Steelers organization (likes). I mean they don’t just draft anybody, you know what I’m saying?”

Green and Pouncey have met since Green was drafted in 2021 and the former Steeler gave the young player some advice. Green also mentioned that both Pouncey and his brother, Mike, are like older brothers and mentors to him.

“Just a lot of knowledge,” Green said of what he learned from the Pouncey brothers. “I think that was the biggest thing, just talking to him and seeing how he views the game, him and Mike (Pouncey), kinda like a big brother/mentor role. I learned a lot just from the few times I’ve been with him.”

Regardless of who his mentor is and what they tell him, Green will have to improve quickly if he wants to see the field for the Steelers again in his career. After the team signed Isaac Seumalo this offseason, both Green and Dotson seemingly lost the battle for the left guard position before a battle even commenced.

The Steelers are likely to favor Dotson’s experience as the backup to Seumalo but Green will have a chance to battle for that top backup job in training camp and the preseason. Green is entering the third year of his standard four-year rookie contract and the time for him to impress the coaches is nearing its end if it has not already passed.

53 • Kendrick Green, Center/Guard, Illinois
6-foot-4, 315 pounds, 24 years old, 3rd Season

Acquired: The Steelers drafted Green with the 87th overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Last YearAfter starting 15 games at center for the Steelers in 2022, Green switched back to his natural guard position after the team signed Mason Cole in the offseason. Green competed for the starting left guard job with Kevin Dotson in training camp but ultimately lost the position battle to Dotson.

Green did not play a single snap but was active for all 17 games in 2022.

Steelers Kendrick Green

Steelers center Kendrick Green (53) snaps the ball to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) in a game against the Detroit Lions in 2021.

CareerGreen was drafted in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft by the Steelers to replace longtime starter Maurkice Pouncey at the center position. While Green only appeared in four games at center in college, the Steelers were determined that he could play center at the next level.

Green started all 15 games that he appeared in during his rookie season, all of which were at center. Green played 975 offensive snaps while allowing three sacks, 18 quarterback pressures, and committing nine penalties. Green’s mediocre play was rewarded with an atrocious 52.9 rating by Pro Football Focus.

Year GP GS Snaps Sacks Allowed Penalties PFF Rating
2021 15 15 975 3 9 52.4
2022 0 0 0 0 0 0


CollegeComing out of high school as a defensive tackle, Green committed to his home-state school, Illinois. Green redshirted his freshman season in 2017.

Prior to the 2018 season, Green switched to offensive line and started all 12 games at left guard as a redshirt freshman. Illinois’ running game was the most improved unit in the nation in 2018. Green played 846 offensive snaps in his first year of playing offensive line and only allowed one sack.

In 2019, Green started 12 games at left guard and one at center for Illinois. Pro Football Focus ranted Green as the No. 6 best guard in the nation and the No. 2 guard in Power-5 entering the bowl games.

During the shortened season in 2020, Green started all eight games and played center in three of those. Following the season, Green was named an Associated Press All-Big Ten First-Team and a Consensus All-Big Ten First-Team. Green was the first Illinois player since 2011 and the first Illinois offensive lineman since 2007 to earn First-Team All-Big Ten honors.

Green started all 33 games that he appeared in at the University of Illinois.

Year GP GS Snaps Sacks Allowed Penalties PFF Rating
2017 0 0 0 0 0
2018 12 12 846 1 9 59.0
2019 13 13 788 3 7 80.1
2020 8 8 527 0 4 88.0

Salary cap and future: Green is entering the third year of his standard four-year rookie contract. He will cost $1.33 million against the Steelers’ cap space in 2023. His cap hit in 2023 includes a $1.1 million base salary and a $226,502 prorated bonus. Green is signed with the team through the end of the 2024 season when he will become an unrestricted free agent.

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