On Thursday Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron sent a simple ten-word tweet to his 100,000-plus followers on Twitter. It read: “I feel like I should have been here all along,” followed by black & gold hearts.
I feel like I should have been here all along. 🖤💛
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) September 3, 2020
In those ten words Ebron communicated so much, blasting the Detroit Lions and the Indianapolis Colts—while complimenting his current team, the Steelers—all at the same time. That’s impressive—and efficient—use of Twitter.
What is Eric Ebron Saying?
It’s worth unpacking a little history here. In essence, what I think Ebron is trying to tell us is: he would have been much better off had he been drafted by the Steelers, as opposed to the Lions, the latter of whom made him the tenth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Ebron experienced a certain amount of success in Detroit, starting 37 of the 56 games in which he appeared, catching a total of 186 passes for 2,070 yards and 11 touchdowns.
But he developed a reputation for having suspect hands, so much so that one Lions follower took the time to produce a song parody of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” which expresses how incredulous Lions fans were when Ebron caught a touchdown pass against the Cleveland Browns.
The lyrics of “Ebron Caught the Ball Tonight” include the following verses:
Stafford threw it to Ebron
Who jumped high up in the air
And as he came down
He pulled the ball in tight
We all said ‘Yes!’
Ebron caught the ball tonight
Ebron went for a touchdown
Then we all got to see
The end zone celebration
He practiced for ten long weeks
Through the fans are all still jaded
We’re all sharing high-fives
Who would have guessed?
Ebron caught the ball tonight
Even more of an indictment is another YouTube video which highlights Ebron whiffing on a block in the Lions’ backfield. Then Ebron completely gives up on—and literally turns his back on the play—even as Detroit’s running back is desperately trying to get back to the line of scrimmage.
Meanwhile, Ebron can’t seem to resist continuing to take shots at the Lions. It was only last month that Ebron liked a tweet which implied that Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is to blame for the ongoing troubles of Detoit’s tight ends, which include former Steelers tight end Jesse James, who saw his production fall off a cliff, so to speak, after he left Pittsburgh for Detroit in free agency.
Ebron’s Stint in Indianapolis Didn’t End Well, Either
It’s worth noting that Ebron also had problems in Indianapolis, where he played in 2018 and 2019. To be sure, in 2018 he had his best NFL season to date, catching 66 passes for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns, which earned him Pro Bowl honors.
But his production fell dramatically last season, which ended early when he decided to have surgery on both ankles, a decision that put him at odds with Colts management, who made it clear after the season that the organization had no interest in bringing him back as an unrestricted free agent.
So Far, So Good in Pittsburgh
All that explains why the Steelers had the opportunity to sign Ebron to a two-year, $12 million contract in free agency. So far, Ebron seems to love it in Pittsburgh, sending the occasional tweet highlighting how well things are working out for him there.
Week 3: EXTREMELY happy with the development of this team and the cohesion we continue to build! Proverbs 27:17 pic.twitter.com/ttLp3u51tR
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) August 19, 2020
🙏🏾❤️ love working with Vance the Manimal‼️ https://t.co/ETIUb9dAEG
— Eric Ebron (@Ebron85) August 18, 2020
Of course, Ebron has yet to appear in a game for the Steelers, so it remains to be seen how things play out, but the early signs are very encouraging. Mark Kaboly of The Athletic recently noted that he’s been impressed with what he’s seen of Ebron in training camp, writing: “I have seen plenty over these two-plus weeks of camp that tells me Ebron is going to make an impact with his crazy athleticism that somehow is packed into his 6-foot-5 frame.”
Anyway, Ebron isn’t the only player on Pittsburgh’s offense who experienced challenges in Indianapolis. Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner—who is competing with Chuks Okorafor for Pittsburgh’s starting right tackle job—was drafted by the Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft, but was waived before the regular season opener that year. That led to him being claimed on waivers by the Browns, where he experienced Cleveland’s 0-16 season.
For his part, Banner has referred to his time in Pittsburgh as an “inspiration.”
“Waste of a draft pick…”
“Doesn’t belong in the NFL…”
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) November 3, 2019
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