William Gay Says Decision To Sign With Cardinals Was Based On Opportunity & Not Money

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.


  • Jprankster2005

    It wuz about the money trust me……… He would of been the starter here so I don’t understand why he would say it wasn’t about the money………

  • Jprankster2005

    With all these players anymore it’s all about the money……. I think the only athlete I can remember that took less money that I can remember anyways wuz cliff Lee in baseball when he shot down the yankees for the phillies………..I’m sure a few others have done the same but not many do these days……. I’m glad the younger guys will get there shot anyways…..

  • Wdmason

    He was a starting CB for the Pittsburgh Steelers. . He earned it but he didnt want it. I have no idea why he left for Arizona…. maybe it was the weather? Sorry to see he didnt want to play in Pittsburgh anymore. He left on top. Was he afraid of the competition?

  • Steelerfanmatt1933

    Money was a part, but the real difference was likely the 2 year offer, versus what I’d imagine was just 1 year from the Steelers.

  • Derick

    I completely agree with you on this.

  • Klingon43

    Dave, to clear up the last sentence in the 4th paragraph, did you mean “Gay didn’t seem bitter by any means”?

  • SteelersDepot

    Yes. I changed the wording. My bad.

  • Klingon43

    Thanks. He may have had a right to be bitter because of all the fan hate. Glad he went out with class.

  • PoKey21

    I think he could have felt the heat from the young guys too. Maybe Brown and Allen were producing in practice late in the season more than people think.

  • John B.

    i hate to see him go but i think i know what he is talking about. say the steelers gave him another one year contract, thats no confidence shown in him after he played for us for 5 years. Last year we gave him a one year, im sure they offered that again..paying him on a year to year basis while battleing for your job vs. job security with people he knows, clearly he made the better business decision.

  • Jefferson St. Joe

    The money offered is a key indicator of the opportunity and commitment being made to you. I suspect the difference was more substantial than he is inferring.

    He was a serviceable starter on a good defense and his comments suggest he was also a decent guy. Good luck!

  • Great writeup Dave. I’m not the biggest fan of Gay, but he handled this with dignity and class, and never took it out on the fans, even though he was blasted over and over. I have to give him credit for the way he handled it, as well as stating he will always be a Steeler. I don’t fault him for moving on, he got a contract that guaranteed him a better situation than in Pittsburgh. No guarantee he even would have made the roster next year with some of the kids that might have outplayed him in camp, and that come cheaper financially. This works for him, and it forces the Steelers to use the young players they already have. It’s a win win at this point for both sides.