It’s safe to say that last year was no fun for Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman B.J. Finney.
“It was absolutely a whirlwind,” he said on Thursday, during a Zoom call with the media. “If you think about it, my family and I did one big circle lap of the United States going from Pitt to home in Kansas, [then] out to Seattle and being traded to Cincy and now we’re back here in Pitt. I don’t suggest moving four times—especially cross country—with a little one….”
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B.J. Finney’s Long, Strange Journey in 2020
To recap, Finney signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks in March of last year after spending five years with the Steelers. But the pandemic prevented him from pursuing his normal offseason workout routine.
“As you guys see with Ja’Wuan James [the former Denver Broncos lineman who tore his Achilles], if you get hurt away from the training facility, they void your contract. That was the one time I saw some money. I wasn’t going to risk losing all that money and that opportunity by training and getting hurt away from the facility.”
But because he showed up to training camp “overweight and out of shape,” as he put it, he failed to earn any playing time with the Seahawks.
In October the Seahawks traded him (along with a seventh-round draft pick) to the Cincinnati Bengals for defensive end Carlos Dunlap. But he was unable to earn playing time in Cincinnati, either, and the Bengals went on to release him in March. That explains how he ended up back in Pittsburgh on a one-year deal that counts $987,500 against Pittsburgh’s 2021 salary cap.
What Position Will B.J. Finney Play in 2021?
By virtue of his experience playing guard and center, the Steelers have options in terms of how they deploy Finney this season.
But during his interview session he indicated that the initial plan is to use him at center, where he is competing with last year’s backup, J.C. Hassenauer, and rookie third-round draft pick Kendrick Green.
“Right now they are leaning on me as a vet at center, but they say ‘Hey we might play you at guard. We’ll just see where things go,’” he related.
Meanwhile, Finney has another issue that potentially compromises his preparation for the forthcoming campaign.
“At the end of the season I had a hernia, so I had to have that repaired,” he admitted on Thursday.
Also, it sounds like he still isn’t where he wants to be in terms of weight or physical conditioning, but is well on his way.
“I am getting better now,” he concluded. “Now that I am here training at the facility my weight is coming down and feeling good. I’m feeling like my old self and moving better.”
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