How an Online Gamer, Packers Fan Broke News of Steelers Free Agent Signing

Rashaad Coward

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images Rashaad Coward of the Chicago Bears warms up during training camp on September 02, 2020.

On Monday Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to sign former Chicago Bears lineman Rashaad Coward to a contract in free agency. But if you were on NFL Reddit or Steelers Reddit this past weekend, you already had an inkling that Coward might be headed to Pittsburgh.

On Saturday a Reddit user with the handle ProbationOfficer2035 posted a thread about a “Possible trade coming between the Bears and Steelers.” After self-identifying as a Green Bay Packers fan, said Reddit user indicated he had been playing Call of Duty: Warzone online “with randoms” and ended up with a female teammate.

“She had her mic on and I could hear her husband talking in the background about a ‘deal.’ Then something was said about he would love to play in Pittsburgh. I tried to ask the girl for info but she felt a bit awkward when I asked if she could tell me who her husband was. All she would say was that it was her husband being loud in the background and that he’s an NFL player.

Anyways, he currently plays in Chicago (I did look up her gamertag which is linked to her twitch/IG and she is wearing Bears gear in some pics). The last thing I heard was that if no one else calls within the next 30 minutes he’s gonna sign a 3-year deal in order to facilitate the trade because he would love to be in Pittsburgh. I know this is big speculation, but I heard what I heard….

Indeed the eavesdropping ProbationOfficer2035 heard right, or at least mostly right. Coward was a restricted free agent, but the Bears decided not to tender him, making him free to sign with any team. So, no trade was necessary to facilitate a deal between Coward and the Steelers.

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Rashaad Coward’s Agent, Wife React to News of the Leak

Notably, after the leak of the news became a story of its own, Coward’s agent, Brian Adkins, seemed to tacitly confirm what happened, making reference to Coward’s wife Natalia in a tweet.

She went on to send a reply, laughing out loud at how everything played out.


Coward’s Agent Seems to Confirm Another Insight

In the wake of the apparent signing, Rashaad Coward faces the challenge of trying to earn a roster spot with the Steelers, hardly a foregone conclusion, despite the fact that he has started 15 games at guard for the Bears in the past two years after Chicago converted him from nose tackle to the offensive line.

The issue is that the Steelers already have starters penciled in at both left and right guard, namely rising second-year man Kevin Dotson and perennial Pro Bowler David DeCastro. In addition, the Steelers have already inked two other offensive linemen in free agency, namely, veteran center/guard B.J. Finney, as well as former Tampa Bay Bucs lineman and almost Super Bowl hero Joe Haeg, who is versatile enough to play both guard and tackle.

But Coward will get an opportunity, one that apparently comes, in part, because of a bit of volunteer work he did three years ago. According to Adam Winkler, news anchor of the CBS affiliate in Hampton Roads, Va., Coward says Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin “remembered him” from when he volunteered at Tomlin’s annual football camp in Hampton Roads back in 2018.

Though Coward is a Brooklyn, N.Y. native, he played his college football at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., which is part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.

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