Cornerback William Gay of course signed with the Arizona Cardinals this past weekend after five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and he joined John Harris on Trib Live Radio to talk about his time in Pittsburgh and the opportunity he now has ahead of him in Arizona.
Late in the interview Harris asked Gay if the money was the real reason he chose to sign with the Cardinals instead of the Steelers and Gay replied, “The Steelers offered a contract as well. It really wasn\’t about the money. It was just where can William Gay grow within these two years, that I was going to sign with either team, the best. I felt the opportunity was there in Arizona. So that\’s what it really came down to. You know guys think… you just went to Arizona just for the money because ya\’ll not going to win. No! I mean these guys were just in the Super Bowl with us and they went to the playoffs after that. They came in with a new defense and now my thing is, once they get over the hump, they\’ll be right back in the playoffs and right back contending for a Super Bowl championship.” Gay later added, “As of right now, William Gay feels like Arizona was the best opportunity for him.
I have to admit I love Gay talking about himself in the third person like Rickey Henderson always did. This will jog your memory.
The vibe that Gay really gave off in the interview was one that he thought he had the best opportunity to compete for a starting job with the Cardinals. He did not seem to have gotten that from the Steelers, and in fact made reference to the fact that he didn\’t even start the 2011 season as the starter, as Bryant McFadden was the week one starter opposite Ike Taylor against the Baltimore Ravens. Gay didn\’t seem bitter at all in my opinion and deep down I believe he really wanted to remain in Pittsburgh.
As far as a void being left with him now gone, Gay said he knew for a fact that Taylor, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu would not let whoever feels the role at left starting corner and nickel mess up what they have going on there moving forward. Gay said that those guys are going to be mentally prepared as well as physical prepared. Gay added on to those statements with, “Believe that!”
While the financials of the two-year deal that Gay received from the Cardinals are still unknown, he made it sound like the Steelers also had a two-year deal on the table as well. Whatever was on the table from the Steelers, you can bet was not lucrative at all and it would still not surprise if it was just a one-year veteran qualifying contract that the Steelers were offering that would have included a $65,000 signing bonus and a minimum base salary of $700,000. We will never know for sure what is was now that Gay has moved on.
While I think it would have been a luxury to have Gay return for one more year, especially from a veteran depth standpoint, you can\’t blame him for moving on. Despite all of the reports floating around from both the Pittsburgh and Arizona media, I think he has a legitimate shot at being the week one starter for the Cardinals opposite Patrick Peterson.
Even though Gay was the constant whipping boy for most of Steeler Nation fan base over the years, I commend him on the way he has handled himself through all of the negativity and adversity. He also has handled himself well through this free agency period in addition. Gay said during his Tuesday interview, “I am always going to be a Steeler, because there\’s so many memories and so much I put into Heinz Field for the Steeler organization. I would never call myself a former guy, I\’m always a Steeler.” I for one agree with those sentiments and how could you not?
You can listen to the full interview below or on iTunes.