Zach Gentry satisfied with NFL debut, ready for possible bigger role with Steelers
He played only 10 snaps, and his lone statistical contribution was, of all things, a tackle.
But Pittsburgh Steelers rookie tight end Zach Gentry was satisfied with his NFL regular-season debut, and he insists he’s ready for a possibly much-expanded role after the injury to starter Vance McDonald.
“I wasn’t really too overwhelmed or too nervous,” Gentry said Tuesday, two days after he played during the second half of the Steelers’ 24-20 loss at the San Francisco 49ers. “I was kind of mentally prepared, so it felt really good.”
After being a Sunday inactive for Weeks 1-2, Gentry did not have a catch and was not targeted with a throw against the 49ers. He did make the tackle of DeForest Buckner after James Conner fumbled during the fourth quarter.
But McDonald did not play during the second half because of a shoulder injury, and his status is in question for this week’s Monday night game at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers carry only three tight ends on their 53-man roster; Gentry and Xavier Grimble are perhaps the lone men standing.
“I’m not sure what the specifics with Vance are, but I’ve just got to stay ‘frosty,’ stay ready,” Gentry said. “But I definitely feel comfortable if I am out there and my name is called on.”
As a former college quarterback, the 6-foot-8 Gentry was considered a raw prospect when the Steelers took him in the fifth round of the draft. He said Tuesday he feels much more ready now to contribute in the NFL than he did when training camp began.
“Oh yeah, for sure. For. Sure,” Gentry said. “It’s week by week, I am getting a lot more comfortable in what I’m doing and getting my (assignments) down and doing what I need to do.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .