Former Steelers Tight End Finds New NFL Home

Tight end Jesse James

Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Jesse James of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by Jamar Taylor of the Cleveland Browns on December 31, 2017.

Jesse James spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers (2015-18), but has already been with four other teams in the years since. On May 31, 2023, the New Orleans Saints announced that have signed the former 5th-round pick, who is now entering his 9th season in the league.

No doubt the Saints are hoping that James can produce like he did in Pittsburgh, when he started 36 of 56 games and recorded as many as 423 receiving yards in a single season (2018).

Jesse James is Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Fact is, though, James’ career hasn’t been the same since he left the Steelers for the Detroit Lions, who handed him a four-year, $22.6 million contract in March 2019. He made 18 starts and played in 32 games for Detroit over the course of two seasons but caught a mere 30 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns over that time frame. That helps explain why the Lions elected to jettison him in March 2021.

Yet he landed on his feet, signing a one-year contract with Chicago in July 2021 and appearing in 14 games for the Bears that year, catching seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Last year he found a job in Cleveland, but played in just two games before suffering a season-ending biceps injury.

Recall that some NFL observers believed James might re-sign with the Steelers after his failed stint in Detroit. Never mind that he burned that bridge when he compared the organization to the Kardashians, fretting about the “[drama] popping up weekly.” He also insisted that he had been misused in Pittsburgh, and predicted his game would reach new heights in Detroit.

All told, the 6-7 Penn State product has now played in 104 regular season games (with 63 starts) and been credited with 157 receptions for 1,522 yards with 12 touchdowns.

James joins a crowded Saints tight end room that also includes Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau, Lucas Krull and Miller Forristall.

Steelers D-Lineman Has Torn Achilles

Speaking of season-ending injuries, on Wednesday May 31 Steelers defensive lineman Renell Wren told Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he recently had surgery to repair a fully torn Achilles tendon in his right foot.

“And literally when I got out of my stance, it felt like someone hit my ankle with a baseball bat,” Wren told Adamski. “I turned around and thought somebody hit my ankle. And then I looked down, and I just fell down.”

The Steelers placed Wren on season-ending injured reserve on May 16.

“It was very (demoralizing) at that moment because of the work and everything I put into it in the offseason,” Wren said. “The strength coaches and everybody saw that. But I am in good spirits. I already have surgery taken care of and on to the speedy recovery process.”

Wren originally joined the Steelers in Sept. 2022; he remained on the practice squad until getting released in late November, only to get re-signed a week later. The former 4th-round pick (Arizona State) went on to appear in the season-finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

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