Whether due to hierarchical disagreement, conflicting notions of net worth, or mutual understanding, celebrated players occasionally part ways with the franchises they’re most familiar with. The Steelers have also experienced these changes.
Some imports appear odd in other uniforms, their tenures devolving into trivia queries—think Emmitt Smith in Arizona—and others succeed, remaining relevant with rings to show for their relocation. Earlier this month, New England Patriots faithful looked on as Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski linked up to score in the Super Bowl, no doubt a common sight. This time, however, Bill Belichick wasn’t on the sideline.
It’s well-documented that Brady, feeling he wasn’t being held in high enough regard by Belichick, migrated south to prove himself in different colors. Gronkowski, a four-time first-team All-Pro and endorser of Tide Pods, emerged from retirement and was traded to Tampa shortly thereafter. It wasn’t only New England where fans watched, happy for their departed cornerstone or bothered by the fact they couldn’t help the confetti fall at their previous stop.
Those in Jacksonville found themselves questioning whether their club made the right decision by cutting loose one of the most productive rushers in Jaguars history, Leonard Fournette. This postseason, he rushed for 300 yards and three touchdowns.
Another tailback, LeSean McCoy, picked up from Kansas City following last season, surely won’t be remembered as a Buccaneer, rather a Philadelphia Eagle or Buffalo Bill.
No different, the Steelers have seen key contributors, even superstars, hoist shiny hardware in other locales. Here are the five best to do so.