Art Rooney II Wants Polamalu To Retire A Steeler; Says Team Will Try To Re-Sign Worilds

Pittsburgh Steelers team president Art Rooney II held an interactive Q&A conference call on Wednesday with all season ticket holders and several various topics were discussed with some focused somewhat on individual players.

As far as their 21 free agents go this offseason, Rooney said that a plan is in place to re-sign some of them and that outside linebacker Jason Worilds is indeed a target, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Of course no specifics were discussed, but it sounds like the Steelers will attempt to get him locked up long-term prior to the start of free agency in March.

“There are probably a couple of guys we need to look at,” said Rooney. “Jason Worilds is certainly somebody who came on and showed what he can do, particularly over the second half of the season. The truth of the matter is there is a lot of work that needs to be done between now and making some of those final decisions. The new league year doesn’t start until March 11. Between now and then, we will be trying to make those decisions and having conversations with some of the players’ agents, seeing what we can work out. There’s no doubt we have a number of free agents we are going to want to keep. I assure you we are working hard on making sure that it happens.”

We can only speculate that other unrestricted free agents such as defensive lineman Ziggy Hood and Al Woods could also potentially be targets along with several others that we have profiled here on the site.

As far as Brett Keisel goes, Rooney reportedly said that the 35 year-old defensive end must first decide if he wants to play next season and that the team must decide if he’s a fit or not. Judging by the interviews that Keisel has already given, he seems open to playing another season, so it will likely come down to whether or not he is willing to take the veteran minimum and if the Steelers have a spot for him after the draft. I wouldn’t expect anything to happen with him, if he is indeed brought back, until later in the summer.

Safety Troy Polamalu is another player that has been talked about quite a bit since the 2013 season ended as he is scheduled to earn an $8.25 million base salary in 2014, the final year of his contract. Rooney reportedly said during the conference call on Wednesday that the plan is for him to retire a Steeler and that the team will look at different ways during the offseason to deal with the structure of his current.

“We would very much love to have Troy retire as a Steeler and expect that he will,” said Rooney. “As you probably know, he has a contract for next season, so how we structure or restructure is something we’ll look at in the next few months. As we try to piece together next year and our salary cap, there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, but I certainly expect Troy will be one of the pieces of that puzzle. The great thing about this past season as far as Troy was concerned was that he played all 16 games. That’s very helpful for us when we have a player like Troy who’s able to stay healthy and play start to finish. He’s obviously been one of the great Steelers of all time.”

If Polamalu is not interested in taking a pay cut, then the only other way to lower his cap hit next season would be to give him an extension. The Steelers did something similar to that with former wide receiver Hines Ward back in 2009. Basically, a good portion od Polamalu’s base salary would be paid to him as a signing bonus with a few more years added on as part of an extension. This would lower his 2014 cap hit, but the prorated signing bonus amounts would then be subject to becoming dead money should he need to be released prior to playing out the final years.

None of the above should come as a surprise, but it is good to hear it coming from Rooney’s mouth.

  • Jason

    I’d love to see 43 on the field for one more season. He wasn’t 2007 Troy this year but I’m sure there’s 31 other teams that would have loved to have him this season. Perhaps we all got a little spoiled by the things he did in his prime. He’s still a very good player but the question is can we pay this much for very good. I say yes considering what we’ve paid Woodley to do basically nothing but blow out hamstrings and eat cheeseburgers.

  • westernsteel

    The Polamalu situation makes me nervous. I would like to see him play a few more years, but am worried they may pay him more than they’d like just to keep him.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Hey Art, your pappy and grand-pappy weren’t too sentimental when they dumped some past HOF 4 time Super Bowl winners like Franco Harris…the one player who did more for your franchise than any other in history. He made your team millions and generated more excitement than any player you have ever had and your elders dumped him over a few measly bucks rather than let him retire a Steeler. If the Steelers couldn’t retire Franco with dignity, don’t start with all of this blathering crap now. Just do what is best for the team going forward regardless of who you keep or let go. There is no room for sentiment especially given the team’s past record with stars.

  • JT

    Next up: Art Rooney II hopes to win games next season. 😉

  • pittsburghjoe

    I remember Rooney saying he regrets Woodson leaving the team. I wonder if that is playing into this decision.

  • David Edward

    I would say their initial moves will be to cut Levi Brown to save the $6.25M, then restructure the other Brown (Antonio). Then to get enough under the cap to sign Worilds, they will restructure some combination or all ofTimmons, Heath, and Troy. Also, they will ask Ike to take a huge paycut or be cut. Will the extra cap space from these moves (in addition to Worilds), they will offer deals to Cotchery and Woods. With the other FA, they will take a wait-and-see approach and not likely do anything until after the draft.

    They will designate Woodley a June 1 cut, so his total cap # will be on the books till then. After that, his $8M base will come off which will free up room to sign the draft picks and a few select FAs. Also, at that time, they make work out a few long-term deals with guys like Heyward and Cortez.

  • Alan Felicia

    Oh man, I remember that day. It was draft day, Pittsburgh just signed Dwayne “Toast” Washington and then drafted Chad Scott in the first round, 24th pick.

  • dgh57

    If part of the overall plan is to send Woodley packing post June 1 a deal has to be made with Worilds so it’s good to hear they’re working on something.

  • HopalongCassidy

    With regard to picking up FA’s…those who snooze, lose.

  • sean mcmartin

    Finally ,A Voice of hope from the Ownership. The Ike saga is more troublesome.
    They already let Lewis Walk. But he did give up the big play in the playoffs for the Saints. If this is a passing league, The Steelers need a free agent or two or three.

  • David Edward

    It was actually Donnell Woolford who they signed(from Chicago). I remember they had Randy Fuller who started a few games and got abused. Woolford was a one-and-done with them in 97. Carnell Lake saved the season yet again and played CB for a good part of the season, and Boo Bell played SS.

  • steeltown

    Nice.. Polamalu is the only “aging” veteran that I would offer an extension to..and nice to hear from Arts mouth that they will atleast attempt to lock-up Worilds


    Levi Brown is a no brainer cut as there’s no cap residual to worry about…if Kahn leaves for a GM job we better hope his asst. is ready to crunch #s on the same level, but Troy is not a restructure candidate…straight pay cut, same with Ike. At the end of the day if they able to retain Worilds it will be good.

  • Alan Felicia

    You’re right! Donnell Woolford, God-awful! And Myron Bell, if he played in this era, he would get fined almost every game the way he laid out “defenseless” WR!

  • Jeff

    Great post.

  • steeltown

    Sometimes I think about what could have been if they had truly attempted to retain Lewis.. Ike Taylor would be on the outside looking in. He’d either have to take a big paycut or we could just release him outright without drastically hurting depth and we’d have our starting CBs set for the foreseeable future with Lewis and Allen and possibly WillieG if they had still chosen to bring him back

  • r4kolb

    Hop I’m given you an up vote. It’s a business. If you want to stay successful you need to run it as such. Especially with our cap issues. I do think Troy, though not the Troy of “old”, is still as good as what we ever could replace him with. That being said just don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Interesting factoid, the man known as HopalongCassidy of the old west indeed did get the nickname from shooting himself in the foot.

  • r4kolb

    8-8 they didn’t have a losing season.

  • r4kolb

    Problem is from what a lot are saying Lewis wanted to go home in a sense. I wouldn’t have wanted them to overpay for him if in Lewis’ mind the only way he stayed was if the Steelers overpaid him to do it.

  • steeltown


  • Steeler Wheeler

    I went with a down vote for hop. Yes it’s a business, and guys gotta go when they gotta go…but some guys like Troy and Hines and Franco should be treated with the respect they’ve earned. Don’t think for one second that Jason Worilds isn’t looking at how the Steelers treat their aging players when he decides to give a home town discount or not.

    Give Troy a bonus and a mutually team and player friendly 4 year deal and push some of the money into the future.

  • r4kolb

    Therein lies your problem. It is a business. I don’t see Woodley offering them a discount because he’s an overpaid oft broken down player. I didn’t see Harrison who the Steelers gave the chance to be the player he became give them a break. Matter of fact he ended up taking less to play for the bungles. On and on it goes. I’m guessing the Ravens are pretty happy they didn’t go with their hearts and overpay over extend Ed Reed. Look how that would have turned out for them. Sorry I have to give you a down vote for not looking out for the BEST interest of the TEAM. LOL

  • MC

    I’m not a woodley basher but i would much prefer we keep Worilds going forward. Worilds has better work ethic while Woodley has gotten by on his freakish athletic ability for the first few years.
    I wouldn’t put it past Troy to take a pay cut. He seems the least concerned with money and even football to an extent. My impression of him is he is a family man and a man of faith first. I hope he plays another 3 years.

  • Josh Knepshield

    I gave you a down vote r4 because, guess what, Ed is 3 years older and slower than Troy!! You learned something!! Yay!!

  • sean mcmartin

    I know..letting lewis walk without even trying does not support the build through the draft mantra,Unless he wanted out. …Hopefully they won’t make the wrong move on Worilds…Woodley is the next Willie colon of the defense. his calves and hamstrings are already toast. AZ can pay the part time player full salary. ,

  • srdan

    This is not a fair post. The undertone to it is that we should cut every player once they get to 31. I don’t like that. I prefer the scalpel approach.

    Polumalu is a Probowler because he is a playmaker. The steelers defense lacks playmakers. Hmmmm, this seems pretty simple to me.

    I think his play this year was a result of his ofseason training. He looked lighter and more nimble. I would make him show up next year even lighter.

    The Worldis decision is also a simple one. He is an emerging playmaker, we lack playmakers. Hmmmm this seems pretty simple too

  • r4kolb

    If you actually read the post I responded to he said extend him for 4 years. Do the math. Troy would be 1 year older then Ed Reed at the end of the contract. 4-3=1. Today Josh was schooled in reading and math. He earned himself a bunch of stars. A**

  • Josh Knepshield

    Ed Reed would not have made it to the end of the deal, because he sucked so bad this year at 35. Troy is only 32. Polamalu also has about 2 or 3 years left in the tank, so a contract of that length would suffice. There is no way Ed would even see the second year of the contract, so your argument is mute. Ha. People always say others got “schooled” when they just made themselves look like bigger idiots.

  • r4kolb

    Tard. This will be my last response because you just want to argue for the sake of arguing. He will be 33 in April add 4 years as was mentioned in post and he would be 37 at end of contract. That is what the post I responded to was suggesting. You say Troy has 3 years left? With his injury history what makes you think as he gets older he won’t get hurt yet again and be a cap burden. No way they should do a 4 year deal. Also don’t forget they drafted Shark to replace him which will be a lower cap hit. Do you understand or do we need to send you to the “Special needs” class? No response necessary.

  • srdan

    I’m liking the cautious optimism!

  • Josh Knepshield

    They drafted Shark to replace Clark, not Polamalu. That is your first mistake. Troy has dedicated the last 2 years to getting into the best shape of his life, and did he miss a game last year? Noooo. Go back and read the post, I said 2 OR 3, not 3. Don’t do a 4 year deal with him, just give him a short extension. “Special Needs” class? Looking by your username it looks like you just pounded on the keyboard with your fists. Move on, oh, no reply needed.