Wednesday, March 11, 2015

As the Worilds turns: Steelers linebacker retires at 27

Jason Worilds, AP/Tony Gutierrez

Just a week removed from his 27th birthday and with millions of dollars potentially to be had for his services on the open market, Jason Worilds instead decided to walk away from the game on Tuesday night.
The now former Steelers outside linebacker's stunning decision to retire capped what was a wild first day of free agency in the NFL. Late Tuesday night Worilds' agent, Jason Bernstein, released a statement confirming his client's plans to call it quits after just five seasons.
"I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days," the statement read. "With that being said, after much thought & consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests.
"I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision."
Worilds, who shared the Steelers' sack lead last season, would have likely fetched $7-8 million for next season. Several teams were believed to be interested in signing Worilds, including the Steelers, Philadelphia and Tennessee.
Last year, Worilds earned $9.75 million under the transition tag. A second-round pick in 2010, Worilds had 25.5 sacks, 129 tackles, three fumble recovers and one interception for the Steelers.
Worilds' decision leaves Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats as the Steelers' only outside linebackers currently under contract for 2015. It could also pave the way for James Harrison, who became a free agent earlier Tuesday, to return.
Before news of Worilds' decision, the first day of NFL free agency came and went with little fanfare from the Steelers.
Veteran cornerback Ike Taylor is no longer under contract but Troy Polamalu remains with the Steelers, though the safety's future with the team remains very much in doubt.
After a busy Monday in which the Steelers locked up some organizational depth in tight end Matt Spaeth, linebacker Arthur Moats and a trio of restricted free agents, the Steelers were non-factors on the first official day of the NFL's so-called silly season, which saw a handful of blockbuster deals go down.
Although ESPN insider Adam Schefter did report that the Steelers "inquired" about Aliquippa native Darrelle Revis, even that was "unrealistic," according to the Worldwide Leader. The star cornerback was once again a free agent after the Patriots declined to exercise a $20-million option on him. Revis signed with the Jets, his former team, late Tuesday.
Polamalu is signed through 2016 and the Steelers are still hoping that he'll retire before they would have to release him.
Meanwhile, cornerback Brice McCain, who reached free agency on Tuesday, is scheduled to meet with Miami, according to multiple reports. 
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