Ex-Steelers Lineman Makes Final Decision on His Football Future: Report

Steelers center B.J. Finney

Rob Carr/Getty Images Quarterback Devlin Hodges of the Pittsburgh Steelers waits for the snap from center B.J. Finney during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on December 29, 2019.

According to Kellis Robbinet, who covers Kansas State for the Wichita Eagle/Kansas City Star, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney has “medically retired” from playing football after seven years in the NFL.

Finney, 30, entered in the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015 after a stellar career with the Kansas State Wildcats. Hardcore Steelers fans will no doubt recall how Finney got emotional while announcing to friends and family that he had signed a contract with Pittsburgh — his favorite NFL team — in the immediate aftermath of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Kansas State Center B.J. Finney Signs Free Agent Deal With Pittsburgh SteelersKansas State Center B.J. Finney Signs Free Agent Deal With Pittsburgh Steelers. Read more here: kansas.com/sports/college/big-12/kansas-state/article20112393.html More from The Wichita Eagle Twitter: twitter.com/kansasdotcom On Facebook: facebook.com/wichitaeagle On Instagram: instagram.com/wichitaeagle/ On Reddit: reddit.com/r/WichitaEagle/2015-05-02T23:23:57Z

After working his way up from the practice squad, Finney went on to play in 59 games for the Steelers between 2016-19, making a total of 13 starts along the way, with appearances at both center and offensive guard.

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From Pittsburgh to Seattle to Cincinnati and Back Again

But Finney’s career was never the same after he signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks in March 2020. Though he was expected to challenge for a starting job in Seattle, he failed to earn any playing time, apart from a modest number of special teams snaps.

In October 2020 the Seahawks traded him (along with a seventh-round draft pick) to the Cincinnati Bengals for two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap. But he saw even less playing time in Cincinnati, and the Bengals proceeded to release him in early March 2021.

That explains how Finney ended up back in Pittsburgh in 2021, after offseason hernia surgery left him “feeling like his old self.”

Pittsburgh released Finney during its final round of roster cuts in late August 2021, but he returned to appear in seven games (with two starts) before landing on injured reserve with a back injury.

His NFL career comes to an end after 73 regular-season games, during which he took part in a total of 1,110 offensive snaps and 244 special teams snaps, as per Pro Football Reference (PFR).

‘Hold-In’ Begins for Steelers Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick?

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s mandatory minicamp (June 7-9) got underway on Tuesday, with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick taking part in position drills but sitting out the team portion of practice, this according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

In early April, Aditi Kinkhabwala reported that the Steelers were “very close” to signing Fitzpatrick to a multi-year contract extension, but a deal has not been consummated in the two months since.

Moreover, it would be out of character for the Steelers to complete such an extension so early in the offseason. Typically the organization waits until September to finalize big-money contract extensions, as was the case with defensive end Cameron Heyward in 2020 and outside linebacker T.J. Watt in 2021, the latter of whom staged a “hold-in” last summer, declining to participate in team drills while contract negotiations were in progress.

As was the case with Watt, there’s little doubt that the Steelers want to extend Fitzpatrick, a former first-round pick who has been named first-team All-Pro in two of his four seasons, as per PFR. Fitzpatrick is scheduled to earn $10.612 million in 2022, the price tag on the fifth-year option the Steelers picked up in March 2021.

Pittsburgh acquired Fitzpatrick in a trade with the Dolphins, sending the team’s 2020 first-round pick to Miami as part of a deal that was consummated in September 2019.

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