Steelers News

Steven Nelson Offers ‘Much Love’ To Pittsburgh After Release From ‘Hostage’ Situation

Before the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they were releasing veteran cornerback Steven Nelson, which from all that had been reported was the expected outcome if they could not find a team to act as a trading partner, he posted a Tweet that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, based on the responses.

It’s important to note that after the team did release him, he shared a note of appreciation as well, as follows:

1:11 passed between the first Tweet and the second, during which time, the Steelers announced that he had been released. It’s clear, at least in my reading, that this did come down to a business decision for the team, and possibly for Nelson as well, and his first Tweet was speaking out of frustration, and perhaps a bit of a lack of communication.

The use of the word ‘hostage’ in particular is one that people took issue with in that first Tweet, and recalled head coach Mike Tomlin’s remark from a couple of years back in which he said that he wants volunteers, not hostages, implicitly referring to Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, a pair of former players who wrote their own tickets out of town.

That, however, doesn’t at all appear to be the case here—at least based on indications gleaned from scattered reports. From our working understanding, the issue was that the Steelers decided that they could not carry his cap hit, and essentially informed him that his number was unworkable.

Whether or not they approached him about taking a pay cut or signing some type of extension that would lower his cap hit, I can’t venture to guess, but the only other option available at that point was to remove his salary entirely—which means either trade him or release him.

They tried to trade him. Evidently, they would have kept trying. I don’t know if Nelson’s message had anything to do with the timing of their release—it literally happened about an hour later—but it stands to reason that they would have preferred to hold out to try to get something for him.

But at that point, Nelson is right in referring to himself as a figurative hostage. If he can’t be moved via trade, and they’re holding onto him in the false hopes of recouping something for him, then he’s stuck. He knows he’s not going to be with the Steelers, because they’ve told him that, but he also can’t negotiate contracts with other teams because he’s still under contract with Pittsburgh.

There are still other things that we don’t know, but we can guess that the Steelers probably didn’t get any bites for him, given that they released him, unless they got an offer from a team Nelson really didn’t want to play for and they were feeling generous toward him, preventing him from being sent somewhere he wouldn’t want to be.

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