It only matters so much how great you might be individually as a football player. Football is too much of a team-centric sport for virtually any player to transcend other obstacles and individually drive their team to victory. Some of the greatest players in the history of the game have never won a championship.
And many of the great ones, as their career begins to wind down, begin thinking about that. By then, they’ve achieved their individual accolades, and made their money. The thing that is missing from their legacy is a championship.
Trai Turner may not be one of the ‘great ones’, so to speak, even if he is a five-time Pro Bowler, but he’s very much in the camp of realizing that it’s time to prioritize that goal of winning a championship. Now 28 years old, he still has time left, even if he is entering his eighth season.
Recently signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year, $3 million contract, he will be replacing David DeCastro at right guard as part of a completely retooled offensive line, after parting with four of last year’s five starters.
Turner recently took part in a question and answer session for Bleacher Report. When asked about his favorite moment so far in his career as a professional, he has a clear answer. “Getting to the Super Bowl”, he said. “That’s the highlight of my career. That’s what you play for”.
He reached the Super Bowl as a member of the Carolina Panthers in his second season in 2015, the first year in which he made the Pro Bowl. They would go on to lose, 24-10, to the Denver Broncos, with Von Miller dominating the game.
Turner has only experienced one playoff berth since then, in 2017. The Panthers qualified for the tournament in three of his first four seasons, but he hasn’t been back there for the past four years, including last season after being traded to the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Steelers did reach the playoffs last year, going 12-4 and winning the AFC North, but they were eliminated in the Wild Card round by the Cleveland Browns. It was their first postseason appearance since 2017, and they are still looking for their first postseason win since 2016.
While they are coming off of a 12-4 season, not many pundits are buying stock in Pittsburgh getting very far this season. Part of that is due to the strength of the division with the Browns and the Baltimore Ravens viewed as out in front of them. Part of it is due to their own internal issues—such as the offensive line being a substantial question mark, a question Turner will play a part in answering this year.