Many forget how good Hardy Nickerson was after he left the Steelers
There were a lot of talented players that played on both sides of the ball for Pittsburgh during the 90s. Their defense was always the main target of the team when they looked to make their club better under Head Coach Bill Cowher at the time. Defense and a hard-nosed rushing attack is something that the club has always lived by.
With a high investment into specific positions, like linebacker, there are always going to be players that fly under the radar. Sometimes some people need a change of scenery to find a different way to excel. That is exactly what happened with Hardy Nickerson as he performed better after departing the Steelers organization.
After six seasons in Pittsburgh, it seemed like the perfect time for both parties to go in their own separate directions. Even though Nickerson was starting to show some promise with a growing role within the team, there seemed to be something not clicking. He would join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and immediately started getting Pro Bowl and All-pro nominations.
The year after he left Pittsburgh, he tallied over 200 total tackles that season. It makes you wonder if that kind of production would have carried over if the Steelers brought him back rather than letting the divorce process come to fruition. Nickerson was a talented linebacker stuck in a crowded room in Pittsburgh that just needed better opportunities elsewhere to make the most of his career.