2014 certainly wasn’t a memorable year for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Lance Moore as the veteran only managed to catch 14 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. After the season was over, it was reported that he wanted to be released and right before the start of the new league year, the veteran’s wish was granted.
Moore has since signed with Detroit Lions following his release from the Steelers and a few days ago he talked about how he immediately knew he would be playing somewhere else in 2015 after Pittsburgh was eliminated from the postseason
“I knew the day after the playoff loss that we had, I knew that I didn’t want to be there anymore,” Moore said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “They made me inactive. And I knew at that point that the writing is on the wall. I could see what their future plans were for me; it was the first time in my career that I was a healthy inactive.”
Moore was then asked if he knew why things didn’t go as he originally planned last season with the Steelers.
“I really don’t know, other than I was hurt early in the year, it never quite clicked for Ben and I, and young guys played well,” Moore said. “I guess that’s (it).”
Yes, Lance, that’s exactly it.
For starters, the Steelers really needed Moore at the start of the 2014 season as he was the only wide receiver on the roster besides Antonio Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey with a lot of experience. A groin injury, however, resulted in Moore being inactive for the first two games of the season and while he did dress for the Steelers third game, he only played one snap.
Even though Moore’s 2014 season didn’t get off to a great start, the Steelers still tried to work him into the offense over the course of the next several weeks. In the Week 5 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, however, Moore found himself in the doghouse of head coach Mike Tomlin thanks to him foolishly spiking the football and subsequently being flagged for delaying the game following a third down reception in the third quarter. Moore and Tomlin had words with each other immediately after that happened and that’s something that you rarely see during a Steelers game.
A few weeks later is when then-rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant started to get a helmet and once he showed that he could help the offense as a vertical threat, Moore found himself one rung lower on the Steelers depth chart.
In the playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Steelers didn’t have enough gameday helmets to go around and that resulted in Moore being made inactive. Moore shouldn’t have been surprised by that move, however, as he didn’t play on special teams. It was a numbers game and Moore should’ve been able to see that.
Even if things had gone better for Moore with the Steelers last season, there’s a good chance that he would’ve been released this offseason. He was scheduled to earn $1.5 million in 2015 with the Steelers and that was just too much to pay a No. 4 wide receiver about to turn 32 who doesn’t play on special teams.
In case you’re curious, Moore signed a one-year qualified contract with the Lions and while he was given an $80,000 signing bonus, his veteran minimum base salary of $970,000 is not guaranteed.
While Moore now sounds like he’s happy with the Lions, he might feel differently come September as he’s not a lock to make their final 53 man roster out of training camp. In other words, he better remember his time in Pittsburgh because the last catch of his NFL career may very well have taken place while he was wearing a Steelers uniform.
“I feel like things couldn’t have worked out any better for me, so I’m going to make the most of this opportunity,” Moore said.