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Genard Avery, Steelers, key to city, day

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Steelers 5th-Year LB Genard Avery Has His Own Day, Key to Hometown in Mississippi

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Steelers 5th-Year LB Genard Avery Has His Own Day, Key to Hometown in Mississippi

The Pittsburgh Steelers recently signed linebacker Genard Avery as an unrestricted free agent at the end of March, so there’s not a lot to know yet about how Avery plays on the field or how he is off the field as a member of the black and gold. Teresa Varley of Steelers.com recently did a “Five Fast Facts” to shine some light on Avery as we get closer to training camp, and uncovered some really cool stuff about the fifth-year linebacker out of Grenada, Mississippi.

 

“Genard Avery Day” and key to the city

Avery comes from a small town in Mississippi called Grenada, which boasts a population just a little over 12,000. It is nestled right in the heart of the state and is exactly 100 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, which is where Avery attended college. This small town has to be very proud of one of their own making it the whole way to the NFL, and Avery is beyond humbled and proud to represent his hometown.

“Thank you to everyone in my hometown Grenada, MS for the help and support throughout the years. There are many people that are as deserving of such an award which makes me truly humbled and honored for the recognition shown to me by the great people of Grenada. I will continue to work hard to make our city proud. God bless,” Avery said on Instagram.

 

What Avery brings to the Steelers

Avery was a stud in high school and even more so at Memphis. He registered 230 career tackles in four years for the Tigers, including 44.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions, which were both returned for touchdowns. He is fourth in career tackles for loss in the American Athletic Conference since 2005, and was the leader in the 2017 season in the category with 22 in just 13 games. He is also fourth in the AAC in sacks since 2005 and was second that same season with 8.5.

He graduated from Memphis in just 3.5 years, fulfilling a promise he made to himself to graduate from college.

Avery was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the fifth round at 150th overall in the 2018 NFL DRAFT. In his first season in Cleveland, he played all 16 games, including 5 in which he started. He registered 40 combined tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 passes defensed and 14 QB hits as a defensive end for the Browns.

Genard Avery, Steelers

CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 14: Genard Avery #55 of the Cleveland Browns attempts to tackle Tony Brooks-James #40 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game at FirstEnergy Stadium on November 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

The next season, he was traded to Philadelphia and did not see a lot of action in 2019 or 2020 despite being available in 27 games in those two years. He made the transition to linebacker to increase his chances at playing time and played fine for someone making the money he was, but Eagles fans were ready to move on.

2021 was different, though, as he started 12 of 16 games for the Eagles and put up 43 combined tackles and four tackles for loss. The Eagles decided to let him walk and the Steelers signed him as an unrestricted free agent at the end of March, hoping he can provide good linebacking depth.

However, some Steelers fans think he can be more. Avery doesn’t excel in coverage, but is great at stopping the run and playing between the tackles. We could see Avery getting playing time on early downs.

 

What do you think, #SteelerNation? Do you like the pick up of Genard Avery? Do you think he will be a significant contributor for the Steelers? Do you wish you had your own “day?” Let me know in the comments or @anthonyravasio on Twitter.

I'm Anthony "Rav" Ravasio and I'm a Pittsburgh native currently at Arizona State University studying sports journalism. I attended North Catholic High School in Cranberry and grew up cheering for these Steelers the whole way through. In my spare time, I love to spend time with friends or family, as well as grow my knowledge for sports in many different ways! Follow me on Twitter @anthonyravasio

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