This is news to me, despite somewhat following the Steelers.
With all the surprises that were delivered around the NFL Tuesday, Jason Worilds has pulled another. The Steelers free agent linebacker announced early this morning that he was leaving football.
And the Steelers believe he means it.
Steelers sources told the Post-Gazette today that they believe Worilds, who became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday, is serious about walking away from football at the age of 27 to work for his religion, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that there is no hidden agenda involved in his decision.
“I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days,’’ Worilds wrote on Twitter. “With that being said, after much thought & consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests.
“I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision.’’
The Steelers issued a statement today that said, “We respect his decision to retire and thank him for his five years in Pittsburgh. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Worilds, who made nearly $10 million with the Steelers last season, was considered one of the top free agent outside linebackers on the market. Yet it was curious when free agency began at 4 p.m. Tuesday that there was no word on any potential signings or even team visits mentioned for him.
While the start of NFL free agency soared in a series of blockbuster trades and big-time player signings, the Steelers took on the look of neutrality.
They signed no one, they released no one, they traded no one, they lost no one.
Thus, they followed a blueprint that has been a hallmark of theirs in the first few hours of free agency, by looking over the field and patiently waiting for things to develop.
At 4 p.m. Tuesday, eight of their players became unrestricted free agents who can sign anywhere, most notably linebacker James Harrison and cornerbacks Ike Taylor and Brice McCain.
Tennessee seemed to be the landing place previously most mentioned for Worilds as a possibility, as it also could be for Taylor and Brett Keisel, who was released by the Steelers Monday.
McCain, signed to a one-year contract in 2014 after Houston released him, reportedly is scheduled to visit the Miami Dolphins this week. McCain became a pleasant surprise for the Steelers after an injury to Taylor and ineffectiveness for Cortez Allen; he started 10 games at cornerback, including their playoff loss to Baltimore.
There also was no further news on the Troy Polamalu front. He has two years left on a contract extension he signed in 2014, but his contract has outpaced his performance. At 34, Polamalu is scheduled to earn a $6 million salary in 2015 and count $8.25 million under the salary cap. The Steelers would create $3.75 million in cap room if they released him before June 1, and $6 million if they wait until then or designate him as June 1 cut.
They would prefer that he retire, but since that has not happened yet, it can be assumed he either remains undecided or wants to play in 2015. Since the Steelers are $3 million-$4 million under the cap, they do not have to make a move with him unless they want the salary-cap savings they could get by releasing him to use elsewhere to sign someone.
General manager Kevin Colbert added to the Polamalu intrigue by posting this statement on the Steelers website Monday:
“At this time, we do not have an update on Troy Polamalu or his contract status. We will continue to communicate with Troy and his representatives regarding his future.”
The most notable occurrence involving anything Steelers-related Tuesday was linebacker LaMarr Woodley, recently released by the Oakland Raiders, signing with the Arizona Cardinals. Woodley was released by the Steelers one year ago, then signed with the Raiders. He will still count $8,580,000 against the Steelers salary cap in 2015, nearly 6 percent of their total team cap.
Interested to know when he became a JW. Was he one since childhood? If so shame on him :P for pursuing a worldly sports career. Did he convert as an adult? Unlikely. He was probably too busy banging hookers and enjoying the life of a multi-millionaire.
Regardless, I have no doubt the WTS would love some of that dirty dirty worldly football career money.
It's doubly hypocritical since the WTS has often called out football as being bad in its publications. IT'S EVIL BUT WE'LL TAKE THAT MONEY.