The Pittsburgh Steelers were interested in boosting their safety depth after they failed to sign one in the first waves of free agency, and then also missed the boat during the 2017 NFL Draft. That ultimately led to them signing former Titans safety Daimion Stafford during OTAs, but it doesn’t appear at this point that he will ever make it to training camp.
As we reported yesterday, Head Coach Mike Tomlin informed reporters that the fifth-year veteran is now considering retirement, but we can only speculate as to why that would be. As I mentioned yesterday, he seemed to be rather relieved to have finally found a team after he signed with the Steelers, having missed out on the initial wave of action and waiting until after the draft.
We don’t actually know much about Stafford, considering the fact that he wasn’t here very long, but one thing that we do know is that he has struggled with some weight issues over the course of his career, and one might be inclined to think that this could be a factor now.
The report is that the Steelers brought in Stafford for a visit several weeks before they actually signed him, but at the time they were not happy with where he was in terms of his weight. They asked him to drop his weight down and then come back. He did, and they signed him, and everybody was happy.
Pittsburgh even seemed to have a plan for him. They were using him in practices as you might expect that they would, as that third safety in sub-packages, a role that he filled in Tennessee. This was despite the fact that he had only just joined the team and was not fully engrossed in the playbook.
I don’t think it was by any idle whim that Pittsburgh actually signed Stafford. They brought him in because they were genuinely interested in him as a player who could potentially aid their defense on the field this season, and it seemed as though they were working toward getting an answer as to whether or not that would be true.
It certainly doesn’t appear as though they will be getting that answer at this point now, however, after he failed to report to training camp. The Steelers have already signed another safety to the 90-man roster to take his place, even doling out the same jersey number that he was given.
Perhaps we will hear from Stafford at some point about what happened, and why he did not report. Why is he contemplating retirement? Does he simply not want to go through the rigors of an NFL season anymore, or is there something more to it?