As least as far as the interior is concerned, B.J. Finney has been the Pittsburgh Steelers’ ‘sixth man’ along the offensive line for four years. Over that course of time, he has been plugged in at either left guard, right guard, or center for 12 career starts. The team just so happens to have gone 10-2 in those games.
Is his time as the sixth man up? That is the question of the offseason, and the follow-up to that would be, if so, then with whom? The Steelers have long held that Finney is the type of player for whom the designation ‘starter in waiting’ really applies.
It’s quite likely he won’t be waiting any longer. Pittsburgh, for example, might re-sign him and choose to let Ramon Foster go. Otherwise, another team in free agency may well be willing to pay him more than the Steelers were looking to spend on him.
No matter what the future holds, the fact of the matter is that his career up to this point has been as that next man up. He has averaged three starts per season, with four coming last year, including three at center, and in each game, he has done well in keeping the offensive line in harmony, something in which he takes a great amount of pride.
He recently sat down with Missi Matthews for the team’s website to do an interview, and she asked him about his evolution as a player. “I don’t really know how to answer that, just because that’s my job”, he said. “Having great teachers with Munchak and then Coach Sarrett, and then the older guys with Ramon and Pounce and Dave, just teaching me, like, ‘hey, you’ve got to be ready at the drop of a hat’”.
“I don’t know anything else”, he went on. “That’s just been my job, and to embody it. Just to make sure we don’t slow the unit down. That was my greatest pride point, was making sure I wasn’t a hindrance. So just, to be that person to make sure that doesn’t happen is huge”.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, Finney spent much of his rookie season on the practice squad. He made the 53-man roster the following year and has been a mainstay since, having made multiple starts in every season since then.