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Steelers All 90: Tanner Muse Embraces Special Teams Role



Steelers LB Tanner Muse

After many key departures on special teams this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Tanner Muse to be a key player on its’ special teams unit for the 2023 season. With players such as Benny Snell Jr. and Derek Watt leaving following the 2022 season, Muse’s arrival will be well appreciated.

Muse was on the Seattle Seahawks active roster for all 17 regular season games last season. Of his 405 total snaps in 2022, 325 of them came on special teams which equated to 70% of the Seahawks’ special teams snaps.

While the team signed Muse to be a special teams star, the team quickly learned in OTAS that he can provide more than just on special teams. Muse intercepted a pass that left fellow inside linebacker Elandon Roberts questioning some things. Muse is a safety that transitioned into a linebacker in the NFL but Roberts did not know that.

“Kind of crazy,” Roberts said. “I didn’t know he played safety until (Wednesday). I was watching him do something, and somebody said he was a safety. Safety? For real? He looks like a linebacker. He looks confident at it. I would have never known.”

This versatile background provides him with some coverage skills while also being fast and sturdy. While Muse knows that the team signed him to play on special teams, he stated that is what he wanted but is also preparing to be ready to help out on the defense when needed.

“(Special) teams will be my thing,” Muse said. “I think for defense I just have to prove my worth and be consistently in the right place. And if I can do that and gain their trust, then more defensive opportunities will come. We already have solidified guys, and it’s my job just to be ready when my number is called.”

He already has received some first and second-team reps at OTAs at the inside linebacker position and said that while it is different than what he is used to he is enjoying the improvements he has made so far.

“I’ve been just getting better with time and understanding the philosophy and principles of this defense,” Muse said. “It’s a little different to what I’m used to, but I am enjoying it and getting better every day.”

The Steelers are likely to start Roberts and Cole Holcomb at the two inside linebacker positions while Nick Kwiatkoski and the second-year Mark Robinson will play as rotational guys. With that being said, Muse definitely has the opportunity to steal some snaps from Kwiatkoski and Robinson if he can impress the coaches enough.

44 • Tanner Muse, Inside Linebacker, Clemson
6-foot-2, 227 pounds, 26 years old, 4th Season

Acquired: The Steelers signed Muse to a one-year contract on April 17, 2023, after his contract with the Seattle Seahawks expired following the 2022 season.

Last seasonIn 2022, Muse played in 17 games and started one as a linebacker for the Seahawks. He played 80 defensive snaps and 325 special team snaps in 2022. Muse finished with 16 total tackles and one pass defended in his second season in Seattle.

Following the season, Pro Football Focus gave Muse the highest rating of his career to this point with a 69.3 rating.

Steelers Safety Linebacker Tanner Muse

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Tanner Muse (58) celebrates during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Seattle, WA. The Raiders defeated the Seahawks 40-34. (AP Photo/Ben VanHouten)

CareerThe Las Vegas Raiders drafted Muse with the 100th overall selection in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Muse suffered a preseason foot injury that resulted in him missing the entire 2020 season. The Raiders waived him after just one season and zero regular-season snaps played.

Two days later, the Seattle Seahawks signed Muse to their practice squad. A few months later, Muse was elevated to the Seahawks’ active roster. He appeared in six games played but only recorded one defensive snap and 100 special team snaps. Muse finished with four combined tackles for the Seahawks in 2021.

Over his first three seasons, Muse has totaled 20 combined tackles and one pass defended.

Year GP GS DEF Snaps Tackles Sacks INTs PDs PFF Grade
2020 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0
2021 6 0 1 4 0.0 0 0 59.9
2022 17 1 80 16 0.0 0 1 69.3

CollegeMuse committed to Clemson University but sat out his true freshman season on a redshirt. In 2016 as a redshirt freshman, Muse appeared in all 15 games for the Tigers and played 99 snaps on defense as most of his playing time came on special teams. He finished the season with 19 combined tackles and one interception. He returned his interception for a touchdown marking the first time a Clemson freshman recorded a pick-six since 1989.

In 2017, Muse stepped into a larger role on the Tigers’ defense as he played in 14 games and played a total of 464 defensive snaps. He finished his redshirt sophomore season with 57 total tackles, two tackles for loss, four passes defended, and one fumble recovery that he took for a touchdown.

As a redshirt junior, Muse played in 15 games and logged 525 defensive snaps for Clemson. On 525 defensive snaps, Muse tallied 61 combined tackles, two sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. Following the season, Muse earned third-team All-ACC honors.

In 2019, Muse played all 15 of the Tigers’ games and logged 450 defensive snaps. His production in 2019 was the best of his collegiate career. He tallied 55 total tackles, two sacks, six tackles for loss, and four interceptions. Muse earned first-team All-ACC honors and third-team Associated Press All-American honors. He also was a Jim Thorpe Award finalist in 2019.

In his 59 career games at Clemson, Muse logged 192 combined tackles, four sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, and one forced fumble.

Year GP Snaps Tackles Sacks TFLs INTs FFs
2015 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0
2016 15 99 19 0.0 0.0 1 0
2017 14 464 57 0.0 2.0 0 0
2018 15 525 61 2.0 2.5 2 1
2019 15 450 55 2.0 6.0 4 0

Salary cap and future: Muse is in Pittsburgh on a one-year contract that will pay him $1.01 million in base salary. The Steelers can cut Muse and not incur any dead money if they chose to do so, but he will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2023 season if he does make the team.

The rest of the 90:

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