Todd Marinovich Turned Down A Shot With The Steelers In 1994

An interesting tidbit came out tonight during the ESPN premier airing of “The Marinovich Project“, a documentary about former 1991 first round draft pick Todd Marinovich. The film covers the life of Marinovich from a child up through his exit from the NFL and beyond. It is well worth seeing if you get a chance.

Late in the film Marinovich talks about life after his release from the Los Angeles Raiders after being suspended for the 1993 season for failing his third NFL drug test. He says he decided he wanted to try to play again in 1994 after being away from game and is filmed saying he got a call from the Steelers. He says he turned it down because he thought it was not going to be any different for him. He decided instead to go and play in Canada for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. I am not really sure what he meant by it not being any different for him and he did not elaborate.

While the time frame is not exactly known when the Steelers called Marinovich, it had to be before the end of May in 1994, as Marinovich agreed to a contract with the Blue Bombers on the 28th of that month. We don\’t know for sure, but the Steelers might have just wanted to work him out or they may have wanted to sign him to their offseason roster and bring him to training camp. We may never know.

When going back over the timeline of the Steelers offseason during those months, you will remember that they drafted quarterback Jim Miller in the 6th round of the 1994 draft in April. They also still had quarterbacks Neil O\’Donnell and Mike Tomczak on the roster at that time.

Maybe the Steelers don\’t draft Miller if Marinovich had agreed to terms or maybe he was being looked at after the draft as a 4th training camp arm? Once again we may never know, but I find it interesting that there was some interest from the Steelers in the troubled quarterback, just less than a year after Raiders owner Al Davis cut him loose.

So what happened to Marinovich after he signed with Winnipeg? He tore his left anterior cruciate ligament during the opening day of their training camp after one of his cleats got stuck on the a grass field. Kind of funny how things work out sometimes, but I thought I would pass along this tidbit as it was the first I had heard this. Maybe we can get Ed Bouchette to share what he knows about this.

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