Ex-Steelers Off To Rough Start In Post-Pittsburgh Careers

So…it hasn’t gone all that smoothly so far when it comes to former Pittsburgh Steelers players relocating this year. Almost literally not one player who was an unrestricted free agent who failed to re-sign with the Steelers is currently on an NFL 53-man roster, and this is not an insignificant list of players, either.

I’m sure it goes without saying that this is in the wake of the news surrounding longtime veteran Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who yesterday was officially suspended by the Dolphins after going AWOL and failing to show up for his first game with the team.

It certainly appears as though he is on his way out of Miami, as the suspension likely voids much of the Dolphins’ guarantees in his two-year, $12 million contract, of which $11 million was guaranteed, which would make him easier to release. The team traded a fifth-round pick to the Saints for linebacker Stephone Anthony, a former first-round pick.

Outside of Timmons’ concerning situation, we also have the case of Jarvis Jones, who signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals, but who failed to make the 53-man roster. after suffering a neck injury, the team ultimately reached an injury settlement with him. Prior to the disc issue, he also landed on the non-football injury list with a quad injury.

The only semi-notable free agent departure who actually remains on a 53-man roster right now would be wide receiver Markus Wheaton, who signed with the Bears in the offseason, but despite the fact that the Steelers will be in Chicago on Sunday, they will not be seeing their former wide receiver there.

Not on the field, anyway, because he is missing time while recovering from a broken finger. He also broke a finger during his rookie season in Pittsburgh. It’s not clear when he will return, but it’s not expected to be this week. He also had to have an appendectomy in July that kept him out of the early weeks of training camp.

And considering that the Bears have already lost their top two wide receivers in Cameron Meredith and Kevin White, well…let’s just say that their most potent target right now is Kendall Wright.

Shamarko Thomas, meanwhile, signed with the Jets but was released as well. DeAngelo Williams never found another team, nor did Ricardo Mathews. Cody Wallace’s career is seemingly over, as is, naturally, Greg Warren’s, who was re-signed. David Johnson, too, was re-signed by the Steelers but did not make the roster and remains a free agent.

Even former Steelers from longer ago have had their issues staying employed. Antwon Blake recently retired after signing with the Giants. They even faced him in the preseason (they made up for it by trading them Ross Cockrell). Sean Spence as well was released but has since been re-signed.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • RickM

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Timmons’ guarantees. One report I read said that he was back with the team before Sunday’s game (after being found at the airport), but Gase chose not to play him. And of course, there were multiple reports on Monday that LT wanted to play this coming weekend.

    Miami ‘made its bed’ by giving him $11M of the $12M guaranteed. I have a tough time believing any arbitrator would allow the Dolphins to simply release him if he is willing to play, thereby voiding most of his guarantees. My guess is some sort of compromise will be reached if he’s released, as most expect.

  • DSG

    You forgot sammy coates

  • Uncle Rico.

    Can you CC this to LeVeon? Or make a crappy rap out of it so he’ll be sure to take notice?

  • george

    Did he play against us in the first game?

  • Sam Clonch

    He didn’t leave as an URFA, as everyone else in the article did.

  • Sam Clonch

    Well there goes a 5th round comp pick….

  • Steve Johnson

    Hmm! Very interesting. But what does this say about Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and the Scouting Department? You know, for years it has been rumored that the Steelers system works better for players than the opposite. So, it could be that their system is designed to make an average player look better than they really are.

  • Guest12

    In regards to Bell. I don’t think it is rust. This is not the only season he didn’t participate in training camp or any of that, and those years he had no problem getting going. I think he is purposely not as aggressive as he usually is to avoid an injury that will hurt his long term deal. Him not being in training camp is not a good excuse for not exploding through holes/gaps and making sharp cuts. We have the same offensive scheme, same O line. It’s not like he wasn’t training he just wasn’t in camp or preseason. I think he is just trying to be cautious with himself and it could possibly be a scenario where he doesn’t give a full effort against teams he thinks we could beat without him having a big game and then goes hard against top-tier talent.

  • Steve Johnson

    I thought he was still with the Browns.

  • Steve Johnson

    lol. I like that, good one. Speaking of Bell, I didn’t think he was worth the $12.1M he’s getting this year. I hope the Steelers don’t sign him to a huge contract after the season.

  • Steve Johnson

    You kow, I thought about that as well. If he doesn’t break out this Sunday, I say play the other two guys more.

  • The Chin

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more

  • steeltown

    Well damn

  • Charles Mullins

    I keep trying to cut you but you wont go away…… and i agree.

  • Tom Fenoglia

    This article makes it sound like these are former stars with the Steelers that couldn’t make it somewhere else…Really? Timmons is the only one on this list that was a star with the Steelers and he’s way past his prime now. What this article speaks to is the Steelers are smart with the guys they let walk. Some of them should have been gone a lot earlier than what they were…Timmons was a great Steeler, WIlliams was great for a few seasons filling in for Bell when he was hurt. The rest are borderline NFL players on any team. Markus Wheaton would be about the 6th best WR on the Steelers this year if he were still here? Who is he better than on the Steelers roster…the only one you could argue is Heyward Bey, he’s definitely not as good as Hunter. When you think about it, historically how many great players were the Steelers foolish to let leave that still had alot of gas in the tank? Emmanuel Sanders, Rod Woodson, Chad Brown, Kevin Greene, Plax? Sanders is probably the only one I can think of that is a lot better after he left. He pretty much sucked for the Steelers.

  • John Phillips

    Will the situation with Timmons affect the Steelers chances for a compensatory pick?

  • Michael Conrad

    LOL they are what they are. Jarvis Jones , S Thomas, Mike Adams. M Wheaton had some promise. The Steelers to a fault give players every chance to succeed or suck.

    When the Steelers cut a player or not resign or make a fair offer to him. The player is at the end of his NFL life cycle. Its called the Not for long league for a reason. I see Mitchell and Gay as good for this year but time is closing down on them. Mitchell because of injuries.

    I though Jones and S.Thomas could have been cut sooner and not be missed.

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    I disagree with this. It’s a good observation but I think it’s more of the tradition and legacy the Steelers focus on. The Steelers are founded on playing hard and winning. They practice harder than most teams if not all. I think this is what pushes most players to new heights. Remember practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

  • VaDave

    On the money Steve. This coaching staff takes more undeserved criticism that they are due. When you look at how far this team has come in the 3-4 years has been nothing short of phenomenal. Like I’ve often said, next to the evil empire in Foxboro, this is as good as it gets. And at I don’t think it’s the coaching so much as it is the players not executing.
    As for Timmons, I hope all is well and what ever the issue is can be quickly resolved.

  • Talyn Scarbrough

    If Bell doesn’t put up career numbers he won’t get 15 mil a year from any team. Regardless of how well he performs against top talent. I don’t think this is happening.

  • VaDave

    Egads, Ben had 13 pass plays in the preseason. Not exactly a lot of work either and he was in camp.I’m fairly certain that Bell was kept up to date on any developments. As for him dogging it, just what are you basing it on? The game plan in Cleveland for all intent and purposes was a preseason type game plan. the OL ran one maybe two counters the whole game and spent most of the day drive blocking, which is not their strong suit. There was zero movement on the Browns defensive line. 87 yards on the Vikes, and you are questioning that effort? The Vikes will finish the years as a top 5 run defense. You may have noticed we broke out the counter trap game, and not surprisingly, Bell started to look like himself. Just keep in mind, it takes more than a few weeks to get the blocking down for that and when the blocking is solid, Bell will again remind you why he is worth every bit of the $12.3 million.

  • Michael Conrad

    I guess you realize playing football as a RB and taking hits when trying not to get hurt is not a guarantee you won’t get hurt. I hope you realize sending a message like not going full out in games will not help his bottom line. He gets 17 M from a team and they lose the first couple games is he going to tank. Who wants to take that chance.

    I think he is out of playing shape. I think the line has not been great. I think other teams know the OL’s strengths and weakness. I think the timing will get better. I think by game six Bell will be good or done. I say and hope good.

  • Jacob

    It’s still a strange sight seeing Timmons in a girly looking uniform. He needs to change colors, maybe black and gold.

  • Paul Rainey

    Right now he is costing us over $11,000 per yard of offense. That is so far overpaid you can’t even see it. That would make AB’s contract wort over $25 million a year. We can win without Bell we can not without AB or BR. The overrated self absorbed diva needs to know that no team in the league is going to pay him over $10 million. Cut bait and go with Connor.

  • J.

    Yeah cause Bell is going to go elsewhere and all of a sudden suck. Most of those guys mentioned above had very limited talent something that is not a problem with Bell.

  • JD

    He is, last game against the Ravens he had 4 targets with no receptions… Stains can’t catch a break and Sammie can’t catch a pass … imagine that

  • Mark

    The Steelers are going with Conner next year if he get’s his reception skills up. We will also draft a couple offensive linemen as well, center/tackle?

  • VaDave

    Let’s agree to disagree Paul. I understand where you are coming from, just don’t agree. Just a quick question, if you had a business, and had what you perceive to be an employee earning 40% more than he’s worth. How long would it take you to fire him? I’ll venture a guess, not long? The deal is, this is a business, and It’s not a stretch to understand the brain trust writing the check know what they are doing. Is he worth it begs another question, worth it to whom? To you maybe not, but for those that actually have their nuts in the fire, well, they aren’t paying that kind of money for nothing.

  • colingrant

    No wonder we’ve improved defensively. I’d take Timmons back at 1.5 (Steelers don’t have it right now) as somewhat of a luxury/expensive backup for both inside linebacking positions. Not sure he can play better than Williams did last Sunday, but in time, Shazier might get nicked up a little. He’s physical for such a slightly build LB.

  • Ichabod

    If anything, take him at vet minimum as a backup
    No one else will offer him anything
    Not so sure he would be a help to us

  • Terence Garvin is a starting OLB in Seattle.

  • colingrant

    He’d be a HUGE help, I’m working on the presumption one of the inside guys getting hurt. That’s a safe assumption. To have a 10 year veteran who knows the system, both inside positions and can plug and play at a moments notice is a valuable NFL commodity. Backups that look expendable in September, seem invaluable in December.

  • Paul Rainey

    O.K. we can agree to disagree. Please note that right now they are paying that kind of money for nothing that Connor couldn’t do. IMHO he is too self absorbed to be of much consequence, and they are paying 12.1 million for a 1 year player. I would love to buy Bell for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth. In your analogy he is being paid at least 40% more than he is worth and the Steelers are doing nothing about it. They have already had to restructure to extend Tuitt. Think about the players coming up. Where will the money come from. Those writing the check didn’t know what they were doing with Jarvis Jones, Shamarko, et al

  • Guest12

    A player of his caliber won’t see a team not giving him a big payday if he has a “down” year, and by his standards a down year for him would most likely still have him in the top 5 statistically at his position, but he will be affected if he has ANOTHER injury prone season. You think his agent doesn’t realize this? His agent, and him for that matter, know that the best way to his big payday this offseason is him staying healthy. Last year he missed some time in camp and then missed the first 3 games of the season and came out dominating on the field. So where was the rust in that situation?

  • Matthew Marczi

    Well, my intention was to focus on free agent moves, players who largely opted to go somewhere else.

  • Matthew Marczi

    When did he not participate in training camp before this year? During the times he was suspended, he was a full member of the team up until the start of the regular season.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think they already lost their comp pick prior to this by acquiring Wilcox, whose UFA status transferred with him via trade.

  • Jaybird

    I got a few questions for ya: If if the Fish release him , do the Steelers sign him? Would you want him back ? If yes, then who gets cut to make room?

  • Matthew Marczi

    Well that’s interesting, I didn’t realize that even though I noticed him in the game last week. I wonder how in the world that ended up happening. I haven’t really followed up with him since leaving Pittsburgh but I hope he’s up to it. Good for him.

  • James Bradley

    Its more to do with PGH knowing when to release someone, very few players PGH let leave find considerable success elsewhere, for every “success” there are 10 that either were complete failures or were marginal for brief periods.

    Yancey Thigpen & Nate Washington both went to TEN, Thigpen never panned out & Washington was at best a marginal 2nd teir player (like he was here)

    W. Parker in WAS …..Max Starcks in SD….

    Many others in that realm, including the guys listed in this article, who with the exception of Timmons dont look like they have much chance of finding success anytime soon.

  • ND_Steel

    He’s done well for himself, first in TB now SEA. Long way from his tryout for PIT.

  • Steeler808

    I think most people and pundits would agree that Bell bet on himself to have a career year and then make a push to be signed to a record contract

    Irregardless of how much potential talent he has he will not be able to get the type of contract he wants or even the kind of contract the Steelers offered if three things were to happen. 1- suspended for violation of drug test. 2- injury where he misses game(s). 3- He has anything significantly less than last season.

    So no, i doubt he is purposely taking it easy to avoid injury. Since he seems to really want that big contract.

  • Brian Tollini

    No offense to Mr. Wheaton, but I kinda forgot he existed. Oops.

  • Washington, not TB.

  • RickM

    It really will depend on what the reason for going AWOL is. If the reason makes sense, evokes some compassion and he’s contrite, some teams may be interested in him. Then it probably boils down to salary considerations. For example, how much of the guarantees would Miami be forced, or willing, to pay. I think a lot of things have to get sorted out monetarily with the Dolphins before he would play elsewhere should they release him. But that’s a guess.

    If he is free after a settlement from the Dolphins, I imagine he’ll want to continue his career. Mike and Kevin would interview him before making any decision; if they’re interested that is. They would cut Johnson I assume if they decided to add LT. It’s a real cloudy situation right now though, so nothing is off the table IMO. We don’t know whether his reason for going AWOL was purely selfish. We don’t know if Gase has definitely washed his hands of him, etc. Would I want him back? No, but for the wrong reason. If he ever challenged VW for a starting position the board would go ballistic. But I know that if he is in good shape mentally, he would add some security at ILB. What’s your guess on what happens?

  • Jaybird

    I don’t think we’d take him back, except if an injury to one of the ILBs. It might mess with chemistry.
    Then again that SOB Blount managed to go back mid season to The Patriots with out causing a commotion.
    I think Law Dog s ship has sailed.

  • RickM

    You’re probably right. Although he is one of Tomlin’s favorites. But if forced to bet on it, like you I would go “no”. I think Gase should be less stubborn, suspend him the 4 games and get him back on the field. But I don’t know the reason and it very well may have burned all LT’s bridges there.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I think Wheaton must be made out of cardboard.

  • pittsburghjoe

    ES seems to be doing just fine though

  • Russell Stauver

    I’m right with you VaDave. Bell is more than his production as an individual player. Opposing defenses must account for him each and every play. How mant doors does this open for the offense collectively. It is total team mentality that wins games, not individual stats.

  • Russell Stauver

    Totally agree.

  • Bill

    Who was the linebacker from the Steelers who went to the Pats; became their leader on defense, a red zone TD specialist and now the defensive coordinator of the Texans? Oh I remember: it was Mike Vrabel

  • Tom Fenoglia

    Bill, it’s true about Vrabel although he didn’t sniff much playing time with the Steelers in his 3 seasons with them, so nobody knew how good he could be until the Pats picked him up. He was basically Ninkovich before Ninkovich. How many people anticipated what Vrabel became? Kind of like how many people saw Brady being what he is…he couldn’t even win the full time job at Michigan during his time there. If you recall Drew Henson was the much more touted QB then.

  • Hagen Rinde

    I like these articles about former Steelers! What’s up with this once promising corner..forgot his name, always hurt…

  • Delboka

    Is Coates still around?

  • VaDave

    PR does have a couple of points in all honesty. From a straight individual yardage standpoint, as well as the overall offensive output it’s an expensive proposition that may cause future cap issues. No knock on Connors who is a good looking rookie, he is not going to be a Bell type impact player. If it is just about the money, Like they say, you can get to New York on roller skates, but most would rather spring for a nice car which will greatly enhance the likelihood you will get there in one piece. As for cap management, we have the best in the business and I have no worries.


    What little I’ve been able to find out…LT was apparently prepared to even play last week, and is on record saying he wants to play this week as well.

    Your last sentence is where I think this is heading…no way MIA will be able to wipe out the entire guaranteed portion of his contract over this incident as bizarre as it appears.


    Whatever reason he gave Gase didn’t sit well with him…actually it seem to piss him off for him to say “suspended indefinitely”, when he probably didn’t realize what that meant withing the CBA…I think he’s done in MIA.

    PIT? At this point I’m going to say maybe, but that’s as far as I’m willing go based on what is out there now….one thing I do know…MT & KC will at least sit down with him if his agent calls them…I don’t expect them to reach out to LT.

    Tough to see LT in this predicament, but it was of his own doing.

  • RickM

    Yes I read that too. If true and the doctors say he is o.k, technically he really just missed curfew and was late reporting on Sunday. I don’t see an as arbitrator siding with Miami in terms of a total voiding of his guarantees. That will probably be seen as vindictive and overly harsh.

  • Rotten Sircus

    I wouldn’t resign LT. I like what we have “Dirty Red” is ready to take Vince Williams spot !!!

  • LucasY59

    traded to the Browns

  • LucasY59

    Boykin or Tez Allen? Brandon has bounced between 3 teams in 2 yrs and has struggled to stay healthy (think he is currently with the ratbirds?) and Allen never played again after he was released by the Steelers (think he had a chronic knee problem?)

  • Hagen Rinde

    Allen, yes. Thank you. Man, he had promising two games at tbe end of a season I remember…

  • LucasY59

    enough to earn himself a contract (that he never earned afterward) it was kinda the opposite of the Wallace/Brown situation with Allen/K.Lewis, but Keenan ended up having injuries that cut his career short as well

  • Delboka

    Yea I know he’s a Brown, but wondering if he is in their future plans. Haven’t heard his name.

  • Bill

    What you say about Vrabel and Brady is true. Vrabel was also an offensive threat in the red zone; caught 10 or 12 touchdown passes. I guess Belichick sees things mortal coaches do not. However, Bill did mention that he saw good things from Brady on film prior to the draft which is why he’s a Pat. You a Penn State fan? Do you remember that he was the QB who drove the Wolverines 60 or 70 yards at the end of the game to beat then # 6 rated Penn State. And then beat Ohio State the week after?

  • Tom Fenoglia

    I think you are right about Belichick. Look at Matt Cassell…I don’t even believe he played a down in college yet the Pats drafted him. Did Belichick have tape on him from high school? LOL! Belicheck managed to win 11 games with him as their starter when Brady got hurt. Cassell in my opinion was worse than Ryan Mallet from a talent standpoint. Then Belichick was able to fleece the Chiefs in trading Cassell there. Cassell did manage to have one really good season in KC but that was it…then returned to what he is, bad. Mallet was one of the few players that Belichick wasn’t able to turn into anything that had talent.