Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner earned the starting right tackle job in training camp this year, only to suffer a season-ending ACL injury in the opener that has him relegated to watching games from his couch.
But as “the biggest Steelers fan for the rest of the year,” he was tuned in to the television broadcast on Monday when he saw a play that left him incredulous.
On third-and-goal from the 1-yard line with approximately seven minutes left to play in the second quarter, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw a pass intended for ‘extra’ tackle Jerald Hawkins near the goal line. The pass was high and Hawkins couldn’t come down with the reception.
Banner couldn’t help but react—via Twitter—writing: “Randy’s gonna hear from me [on Tuesday],” referring to Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, who has no doubt already gotten an earful about Banner’s ‘tackle eligible’ replacement getting a pass thrown his way.
Zach Banner’s NFL Dream
You see, Banner dreams of catching a pass during a game—especially a touchdown pass. Part of it stems from his fame as Pittsburgh’s “most eligible” receiver. You may recall that in 2019, when he frequently served as an extra tackle in jumbo packages, he would draw loud cheers every time Heinz Field public address announcer Larry Richert intoned: “No. 72 is reporting as an eligible receiver.”
While Fichtner did send Banner out on a route from time to time in 2019, it was always as a decoy, so catching a pass from Roethlisberger—or Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges—remains a dream unrealized.
Yet he still fancies himself a legitimate receiving option, which is why he expressed mock outrage this summer when the Steelers failed to include him in a promo piece spotlighting the team’s tight ends.
Steelers Fans React to Zach Banner’s Reaction
Naturally, plenty of Steelers fans and Twitter followers replied to Banner’s tweet, some of whom logged on just to see what Banner would say about Roethlisberger-to-Hawkins.
Many had no doubt Banner would have scored on the play.
Others encouraged Banner to relate their suggestions for play calling, with some fans calling for Fichtner to incorporate the quarterback sneak into the offense. Many others apparently want fullback Derek Watt to get the ball when the Steelers offense approaches the other team’s goal line.
Some fans had very specific complaints about Fichtner’s play calling, including one who said: “You want to tell him to quit running predictable slants on 3rd and short. It’s obvious it’s coming, and hasn’t worked for weeks. Somethings gotta change with this play calling, unless we are just holding out half the playbook for the playoffs.”
Countless others are beyond the suggestion phase and simply want Fichtner gone.
“Use your healthy leg to kick him in the behind,” proposed one user.
“Can he be fired yet? What’s it gonna take?” queried another.
Finally, one noted that Fichtner could expect much more criticism from fans—now and in the future.
“Randy gon [sic] hear from all of us,” prophesized one U.K.-based fan.
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