New Detroit Lion Jesse James ‘glad to get away’ from Steelers, Antonio Brown drama
In something of a dead period for media interaction with current members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s been a vacuum of sorts for player reaction to the trade of Antonio Brown.
A newly-former Steeler was able to chime in, though, on Thursday.
Speaking to Detroit media at his introductory news conference after signing with the Detroit Lions, former Steelers tight end Jesse James said he was “glad to get away” from the drama that’s enveloped the Steelers in recent years.
A Glassport native who played at Penn State, James agreed to a four-year, $25 million contract with Detroit earlier this week.
After 2 ½ months of soap opera between the Steelers and star receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers dealt Brown to the Oakland Raiders for third- and fifth-round draft choices. James said it was the right move for the Steelers.
“It had to happen,” James said in Detroit. “It was time for him to move on from Pittsburgh and time for Pittsburgh to move on from him. I think things grew out of control pretty fast there; I didn’t expect it to get done as fast as it did. But happy the Steelers and him are at peace and willing to move on. And really happy that’s over with.”
James on Wednesday penned a goodbye to the Steelers and to Pittsburgh in a post to his verified Instagram account, saying: “I would like to thank the Rooney Family, my coaches, my teammates, the entire Steelers organization and Steelers Nation for giving me the opportunity to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was an honor and I am grateful for the last 4 years. Thank you Pittsburgh!”
A fifth-round pick in 2015, James was viewed as a backup by the Steelers, who in 2017 traded for Vance McDonald to be their starting tight end. James told reporters in Detroit that he feels as if his ceiling is much higher than how he was used with the Steelers.
“I feel like I’m going to be a key part of this offense,” James said.
James did not miss a game because of injury over four seasons with the Steelers, making 120 catches for 1,189 yards and nine touchdowns.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .