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Steelers Rookie Fullback Retires



Steelers UDFA Fullback Monte Pottebaum

Some people just aren’t hard to picture in a Pittsburgh uniform, and maybe it’s the black and gold Iowa uniforms, or the neck roll hidden by a blonde mullet, but Hawkeyes fullback Monte Pottebaum just looks like a Steelers player. However, he’s retiring just a few days into training camp, as the team placed him on the reserve / retired list on Sunday.

After the Fredo, Omar Khan and the Steelers front office team inked him to a priority free agent contract on Saturday after the close of the 2023 NFL Draft. The Steelers paid Pottebaum a $10,000 signing bonus.

A native of Larchwood, Iowa, Pottebaum grew up a Steelers fan, and maybe it was the black and gold uniforms that led him to walk on with the Hawkeyes five hours to the northwest in Iowa City.

The 6-foot-1, 242 pound Pottebaum played in 12 games as a true freshman in 2019, mostly on special teams. He had played all over the field in high school, but eventually settled on fullback at Iowa. In a COVID-shortened 2020 season, he made three starts, but still had just one rushing attempt for zero yards. After his sophomore season, Pottebaum was placed on scholarship by Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz.

In 2021, he saw a bigger role in the offense, starting five games and getting 15 carries for 76 yards and a touchdown. This past season, he had his best year as a receiver, hauling in three catches for 37 yards.

Of course, his top contributions all came as a blocker.

The Steelers have not retained incumbent fullback Derek Watt, who remains a free agent. They did draft tight end Darnell Washington with their third-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft, which could see 2022 rookie Connor Heyward move to fullback some, as well. The Steelers now have no true fullbacks on their 90-man roster. They have 89 players.